MAYAGUANA - AN emergency evacuation flight turned deadly this morning when the plane chartered to pick up the ailing individual crashed into a vehicle near the runway, killing three people, the Minister of Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin revealed.
3.29pm: Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Transport and Aviation, has released the following statement:
“I wish to provide an update to my previous statement on the status of the investigation of this tragic incident.
“As previously communicated, an investigative team comprising members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and the Air Accident Prevention and Investigation Unit (AAPIU) of the Civil Aviation Department traveled to Mayaguana at 5 a.m. this morning. At this moment that team is on the ground at the airport in Mayaguana conducting an investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic accident. In pursuance of this, witnesses are being interviewed and photographic and other pieces of evidence are being collected. I expect to travel to Mayaguana within the hour with the Member of Parliament for MICAL, Hon V. Alfred Gray.
“The Bahamas Government is committed to ensuring that emergency capacity is installed in all airports nationwide. As a result of this commitment and under my tenure as Transport Minister between 2002 and 2007, solar powered emergency runway lights were installed at seventeen Family Island airports. This policy initiative eliminated the need for the use of high beam headlights from vehicles to illuminate Family Island airport runways in emergency situations.
“The Mayaguana Airport is the subject of a Heads of Agreement with the I Group, a foreign development group which under that agreement were obliged to rehabilitate the airport inclusive of lights and runway resurfacing. That agreement was reviewed by the previous administration for several years and it was only until February 2012 that a revised agreement was finalized between the former Government and the I Group.
“As a result of this terrible turn of event the Ministry of Transport is now intervening to procure the immediate installation of emergency lights in Mayaguana and will thereafter install lights in Fresh Creek Andros and Stella Maris, Long Island.”
12:03pm: The three victims of this morning's crash have been identified as the relatives of former MICAL MP Sidney Collie. The deceased persons are his mother, Edith, his sister, Enamay and her Canadian husband Tim Polowick
11.36am: Civil Aviation has shut down the airport in Mayaguana.
Officers from Civil Aviation and officials from the Royal Bahamas Police Force are on the island beginning their investigation into the crash. Reportedly the MP for the area, V Alfred Gray, along with officials from the Ministry of Aviation are awaiting the airport's reopening before they can fly in.
11.26am: There has been no update on the condition of Reverand Robert Black, who was scheduled to be airlifted this morning by LeAir to the capital. According to residents in Mayaguana, another flight has been arranged from Inagaua to carry Mr Black sometime this evening.
MAYAGUANA - AN emergency evacuation flight turned deadly this morning when the plane chartered to pick up an ailing individual crashed into a vehicle near the island's runway, killing three people, Minister of Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin revealed.
A press release sent by Ms. Hanna-Martin said the three people killed were all inside the vehicle parked near the runway.
Two people were aboard the LeAir charter plane that impacted with the vehicle, however, it is not yet known whether they were injured during the incident.
It is also not known what happened to the person who was awaiting the emergency flight.
The minister's report revealed that two vehicles had "strategically" lined Mayaguana's unlit runway at about 12:30am in order to illuminate the "usable portion" in preparation for the plane's landing.
Consequently, the plane crashed into one of the vehicles lighting the runway.
According to Ms. Hanna-Martin's report, an investigation will be carried out by the Department of Civil Aviation.
The Tribune will issue more information as it becomes available.
Here is Ms. Hanna Martin's full statement:
In the early hours of this morning I was informed of an aviation accident in Mayaguana resulting in the tragic death of 3 people. I am advised that all 3 persons are residents of the island of Mayaguana.
A preliminary report from the Department of Civil Aviation says that on 4th April, 2013 at approximately 12:30 a.m. a Cessna C402 owned by Leair Charter Service Limited with a crew of 2 on board was making a landing at night for an emergency evacuation flight with two vehicles strategically placed to outline the useable portion of the runway. It is reported that the aircraft made contact with one of the vehicles resulting in the deaths of the 3 passengers in that vehicle.
An investigative team comprising the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Air Accident Investigation and Prevention Unit of the Department of Civil Aviation will fly into Mayaguana at 5 a.m. this morning.
I wish to assure that a full investigation will be carried out by the Department of Civil Aviation into the causes and circumstances surrounding this terrible event. I will report further as information permits. Out of respect for the families, the names of the persons killed will not be disclosed until an official release is made by the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of these beloved persons and to the wider community of Mayaguana who share in this loss.