By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
TIM Aylen said he was overcome with fear that “we were going down” after he witnessed a propeller of a small SkyBahamas Airlines flight stop as oil dripped from it minutes after the plane left Nassau headed to Freeport, Grand Bahama.
As four women on the plane held hands and continuously prayed throughout the ordeal, Mr Aylen said his mind was fixated on whether the remaining propeller would malfunction as well.
Mr Aylen, a photographer who captured a portion of the incident on his cellphone, was one of five passengers and three crew on the flight. It was scheduled to leave the capital at 11.30am but left 30 minutes earlier than planned.
He said the plane had just left the Lynden Pindling International Airport and was somewhere over the shallow waters of the Berry Islands when he heard a disturbing noise.
“About 10 minutes into the flight we all heard this loud bang and the plane shuddered. There were a lot of concerned voices and some people screaming out loud because the left prop had stopped,” a shaken Mr Aylen told The Tribune.
“I moved over to that window and saw oil coming out of the engine. At that time the stewardess said everything was fine and she said we would make it back to Nassau. The pilot also came on and said we were just flying on one engine. There was just a lot of concern because we didn’t know what happened.”
He continued: “I really did think we were going down. You do think that very quickly because I wondered if the other propeller would go too. I was shaken up. I don’t know what kind of panic was going on inside the cockpit but at no time did we know and the pilots made it seem easy.”
Mr Aylen said when the plane landed in Nassau, several fire trucks met it on the runway. The airline then sent a replacement aircraft to fly him and the other passengers to Grand Bahama.
According to airline CEO Captain Randy Butler, shortly after take off, pilots reported a “strange” noise and apparent engine trouble. They were able to fly the plane safely back to Nassau without incident, he said.
Capt Butler told The Tribune that all passengers were in good condition, except one, who reportedly was hospitalised.
A full investigation into what caused the incident is expected to take place today, Capt Butler said.
Flight fears on video, see tribune242.com