SEARCH and rescue teams last night rescued five people who were on board a single engine Cessna 172 aircraft flying from Pittstown, Crooked Island that crashed into the sea some 13 miles southeast of Nassau, officials said last night.
There were four adults and one child on the plane. Those on board included a Bahamian captain, however the nationalities of the others were unclear up to press time.
The pilot reported engine problems before it ditched in the sea, Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin told the House of Assembly last night, as parliamentarians debated the 2015/2016 budget.
The five survivors were found in a life raft and were taken by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to its base in Coral Harbour, Mrs Hanna Martin told The Tribune in a later interview.
Chris Lloyd, operations manager of Bahamas Air Sea and Rescue (BASRA), last night said he was informed that the five survivors did not need medical urgent attention.
He said the plane’s distress call came in around 7.23pm, adding that search teams with a crew from the United States Coast Guard were able to quickly mobilise for rescue and recovery efforts.
Earlier in the evening, Mrs Hanna Martin prayed for the safe rescue of the five souls on board.
“I’m advised that an aircraft circling the scene reported that the aircraft was in the water, however persons were seen in a life raft,” Mrs Hanna Martin told the House of Assembly when news of the crash first broke. “The Port Department has dispatched a vessel to seek to rescue the individuals. The police and the Defence Force have also been informed, but I’m not able to say exactly what has happened to the individuals on this aircraft. We pray that all is well.”
Before the group was found, Mr Lloyd said because search teams had a clear idea where the plane went down, the search boundaries would be narrow, aiding recovery efforts.