By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
OFFICIALS have completed their analysis into the cockpit voice recorder and digital electronic engine monitors on board the plane that crashed in Grand Bahama over a month ago, killing prominent pastor Dr Myles Munroe and eight others.
The Tribune has learned that their results are in line with the conclusions of the preliminary report into the crash, which was released nearly three weeks ago.
That report revealed that the accident on November 9 took place while the pilots attempted to land the aircraft amid difficult weather conditions.
Department of Civil Aviation officers met officials of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Bombardier – the manufacturer of the aircraft – at the headquarters of the National Transportation Safety Board this week to process the investigation and formally analyse the relevant technology.
Having found results that support their initial conclusions, the team will now switch their focus to gaining insights into the lives of the plane’s pilots, Captain Stanley Thurston and First Officer Frahkan Cooper, during the pilots’ final few weeks.
They could begin interviewing family members of the pilot and co-pilot as early as next week.
According to a source close to the investigation who spoke to The Tribune on the condition of anonymity, while weather reduced visibility on the evening in question, the decisions the pilots made – or did not make – played a role in the crash.
Facing difficult weather conditions, the pilots could have turned the aircraft around and returned to New Providence, the source said.
Nonetheless, the source added a toxicology analysis of the pilots has been completed, revealing that they had consumed no drug that could have impaired their performance.
While Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin has said that the investigation into the crash could take several months to complete, The Tribune’s source noted that the circumstances and facts surrounding the crash have now been established, adding that it is unlikely anything will emerge that would cause them to reverse their conclusions.
It is unclear when an official report into the investigation that takes into consideration the analysis of all relevant technology will be released.
The Lear Jet, which crashed into a Grand Bahama Shipyard, claimed the lives of nine people, including Bahamas Faith Ministries International (BFMI) Senior Pastor Dr Myles Munroe, his wife Ruth, vice-president Dr Richard Pinder, newly ordained youth pastors Lavard “Manifest” Parks, his pregnant wife Radel, their five-year-old son Johanan and American citizen Diego DeSantiago.
They died immediately on impact after their plane hit a crane, rolled, inverted and crashed.
The plane had left Nassau shortly after 4pm and crashed around 5:10pm. The group was flying into Grand Bahama from New Providence for an annual leadership conference organised by Dr Munroe.
The weather at the time was reduced visibility, resulting in a missed landing on the aircraft’s second approach to the airport.
A preliminary report into the crash said: “The crew executed a missed approach procedure and continued outbound and entered the published holding pattern at 2,000 feet. Some time after entering the holding pattern, ATC (air traffic control) reported the weather as improving and thus a second ... approach was requested by the crew and granted by ATC.
“During the return for the second instrument approach, ATC reported the weather as again deteriorating due to rain and haze. While attempting to find the runway visually during the second approach, the aircraft descended and subsequently struck a towering crane at the Grand Bahama Shipyard.”