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Updated: Andros Plane Crash - Search Suspended For Thursday

Photos from social media reportedly showing wreckage from the plane in Andros.

Photos from social media reportedly showing wreckage from the plane in Andros.

YOU CAN READ THE LATEST ON THIS STORY HERE

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The Royal Bahamas Defence Force aircraft which is assisting the search.

4.25pm UPDATE: The Royal Bahamas Defence Force has released the following details of its involvement in the search for the aircraft: “Four military divers and a patrol aircraft from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force are assisting local authorities in their search for a Bahamian registered light aircraft that crashed in waters off the east coast of Mastic Point, North Andros yesterday with six persons on board. The Defence Force was informed of the crash by officials from Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos yesterday afternoon.

“A US Coast Guard conducting a search for the aircraft yesterday afternoon sighted debris and a body in waters off the east coast of Mastic, Point, Andros but was unable to assist further due to severe weather conditions. The Defence Force deployed its aircraft earlier this morning along with four military divers to assist local authorities in finding the aircraft and its passengers.

“The Defence Force is also searching for Mr Samuel Moss from Nassau. Mr. Moss, who was reported missing since 15th January 2018, had departed Bimini for New Providence in a white 21 foot single engine Angler small craft on Monday15th January 2018. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Mr. Moss is asked to inform local Police or the Defence Force's Operations Centre at 362 3814/5.”

4.15pm UPDATE: Officials have suspended their search and recovery efforts for the day.

3pm UPDATE: Family members have identified Desiree Shaneig Russell and her 10-year-old daughter Destinque Wilson as the two remaining passengers on board the ill-fated Andros charter flight which crashed in the ocean Wednesday.

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Three of the people who were onboard: Maggie Adderley, Tino Russell and a woman identified only as Nique.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

TWO bodies were recovered yesterday and four others are feared dead after a plane travelling from Andros to New Providence crashed in waters just off the coast of Mastic Point.

There were three men, two women and a teenage girl on board.

After hours of unsubstantiated claims and social media rumours, yesterday afternoon Department of Civil Aviation officials confirmed the crash of a small single engine Piper Aztec. It is believed that all on board died.

The Tribune has identified four of the six persons on board as Darren Clarke, believed to be the pilot; Carter Campbell, a local store owner; Maggie Adderley and Valentino Knowles.

The remaining two victims are believed to be a mother, identified only as Nique, travelling with her daughter.

Authorities up to press time confirmed two bodies were seen in rough seas just east of Mastic Point. The bodies were discovered in the vicinity of debris, but officials were unable to determine if the plane did go down at thst point.

According to reports, the aircraft disappeared while travelling to New Providence. It is suspected the plane encountered bad weather shortly after its 8am take-off and attempted to return to Andros.

In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Delvin Major, chief investigator at the Air Accident Investigation Department of the Department of Civil Aviation, said his office was notified at 11am that a plane en route to New Providence could not be located.

Mr Major said the aircraft, which was only identified by its make and model at the time, had not arrived in Nassau or reported back in Andros.

He said it was at this time that authorities in Nassau organised resources to find the plane.

Shortly after 2pm, North Andros and Berry Islands MP Carlton Bowleg said the aircraft was located in waters off Mastic Point and all on board were believed to be dead.

He told The Tribune: “This is truly yet another sad day in what seems to be a run of chaos and tragedy in my community.”

Mr Bowleg, elected for the first time in the May 2017 general election, said he was notified by members of his community that a small plane, piloted by his childhood friend and classmate, Darren Clarke, had crashed on the way to New Providence.

Overwhelmed with grief he added: “Just that first part was hard to understand, but it went on.”

“I knew every soul that perished on that plane in one form or another," he said, after a pause. “Carter (Campbell) is my son's uncle; Ms (Maggie) Adderley is the wife of one of our community leaders in Mastic Point; Tino (Russell) is form Low Sound, I know him well; then there is Nique and one of her two young daughters."

Mr Bowleg added: "On all sides this is a sad ordeal. North Andros, rather all of Andros, is still grappling with the outcome of those recent hurricanes and now this.

"I mean, after all that has happened, for this to have happened and the way it apparently did, it's a tragedy on all fronts.

"The people of Andros have developed a true fear of the weather. We see clouds pile up and we get worried. Add this to the mix, it's truly too much to put into words. My heart aches today."

Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D'Aguillar also confirmed the crash, indicating the US Coast Guard, along with Bahamas Air Sea and Rescue (BASRA) officials, had discovered two of the six bodies in rough seas and were attempting to identify and secure an official crash site.

In statements last evening, several prominent politicians, including Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis and (PLP) Chairman Fred Mitchell, extended their condolences to the families of the deceased.

Aviation officials plan to travel to Andros today to continue search and recovery efforts.

Comments

John 6 months ago

How many aviation mishaps over the past few weeks. Maybe these light aircraft need to pay more attention to weather alerts and stay on the ground during unsettled weather like it was this morning with high winds and blinding rain.

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realitycheck242 6 months ago

May their souls rest in peace.

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JohnDoes 6 months ago

Again with these small charter aircraft. More lives lost because of greedy pilots flying like Storm chasers. Im sure the conditions were enough to cancel the flight yet they still proceed. smh

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John 6 months ago

I don’t know if I agree with the ‘greedy ‘ comment in light of there being lives lost. And let us not forget they were not all Bahamian charter pilot. The pilot who went missing over Exuma en route to the Southern Bahamas and closed his flight at least a day before he was reported missing. Maybe more regulation and more persons at Family Island airports with the power to ground flights and shut the airports. May the souls lost in this sad tragedy redo in peace.

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truetruebahamian 6 months ago

A lot of 'maybe' and guesswork should be cleared up hopefully upon a thorough investigation and truthful publicising of the report.. These aircraft are safe in weather like today, and always will be once regular and proper maintenance is performed and all new F.A.R.s are heeded and acted upon. A flight plan can and should be opened upon take off if a plan is not previously made by telephone.
There are too many unregulated hackers operating openly - they are illegal, but have continued to get away with it and been allowed to for so long that they flout the law daily - as did those who squatted at Arawak Cay/Ft. Charlotte (now the dirty old fish fry) and the numbers and gaming houses until the government caved in and allowed them to exist without bothering to round them up and prosecute them, I am not saying that the pilot was a hacker or that the aircraft he was flying was used for that purpose - but it would not be at all surprising if that were so.

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John 6 months ago

Most of the plane crashes that resulted in the loss of life over the past five years in The Bahamas were foreign pilots who became disorientated and/or experienced mechanical problems. Today's disaster should not be tied in with issues you have with the Fish fry or issues you have with gaming being regulated. But never mind, you have issues with Bahamians period.

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truetruebahamian 6 months ago

John - I am Bahamian! My family has been in the Bahamas with the early settlers, Eleutherian Adventurers. I dare say more Bahamian than you!

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licks2 6 months ago

I guess you know that them adventurers did not stay here. . .they flew outta that place as soon as they were found and taken back to Bermuda I think!

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jamaicaproud 6 months ago

Can you guys for once just say RIP, without getting into who is Bahamian or foreigner or superior? Show some humanity please.

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John 6 months ago

like I always say..i don't argue with ignorance or bigotry

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Aegeaon 6 months ago

Foreign? Can you please explain why we keep playing shortcuts and neglecting the use of new technology or proper procedures for flying? The pilot isn't to blame, but it's the Bahamian-controlled aviation bureau for being cheap. At the expense of six lives.

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sheeprunner12 6 months ago

As we move to take Bahamasair overseas to bring tourists here ........ and turn over the Out Island routes to the small charter sector .......... these last two weeks may be cause for concern ....... What is behind all of these near misses with these small charter planes ....... ICAO?????

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ohdrap4 6 months ago

Here is what is behind it: Bahamians do not believe in maintenance.

you see those cars on the road with no bumpers, no brakes and cracked windshields or malfunctioning seat belts? Yep, the same people who drive those cars pilot airplanes, they also travel as passengers and find nothing wrong ignoring safety.

they even attempt to break the law of gravity by taking on too much weight on the plane.

the day bahams air stops flying, i will travel on the mailboat, no matter how long it takes.

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K4C 6 months ago

single engine Piper Aztec ? if it is a Piper Aztec it has 2 engines

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OldFort2012 6 months ago

Ah. Well, that explains why it crashed. They forgot to strap the other engine on.

In all seriousness: if the mechanical inspections and certification for airplanes is similar to the one for cars (I mean in practice, not on paper), then it is a miracle a single plane ever makes it to destination. And since we all know that only about 50% of drivers have a "real" driving licence, let us hope the situation is not the same with pilots.

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licks2 6 months ago

And three seats. . .one small jump seat at the rear! I was about to look-up the piper Aztec with one engine!

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sumpthiscom 6 months ago

Memorandum

From the office of: Norman L. Horton

MEMO TO FILE

On 26 April 1985 a water retention test was conducted on a PA-23 at Gillespie Field in San Diego, California.

The test was conducted by Jerry L. Wells and Norman L. Horton. Portions of the test were video taped by Peter J. Gordon.

Mr. Wells and Mr. Horton were consultants hired by the law firm of Magana, Cathcart, McCarthy and Pierry of Los Angeles. Mr. Gordon was an employee of that law firm. In May of 1985 Mr. Gordon submitted an M or D to the FAA outlining the results of that test. The test proved that large quantities of water were retained in the tanks of the aircraft after the pre-flight procedures were complied with. The quantities of retained water far exceeded the capacity of the gascolators. It was thought that a submission of the M or D would lead to a correction of the problem in that class of aircraft. It did not. The only visible result was the harassment of the owner of the aircraft by the local FAA. No corrective action was taken to fix the problem. Mr. Horton and Mr. Wells made further attempts to remedy the situation. Those attempts are set forth in this book.

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observer2 6 months ago

I hate when I book my entire family on Bahamasair’s brand new European made Airbus planes to go to Long Island and then they put me on these old nasty looking planes.

While Bahamasair looses a lot of money I know thier pilots were professionally trained by Airbus to fly theses planes.

I also know that Airbus controls the maintenance of these planes to a global standard.

My heart sinks and I feel like asking for my money back and going back to my house in Nassau and not visiting Long Island.

Please please Bahamasair, stop f’ing with the Bahamian people who are paying hundreds of millions in taxes to support your operation.

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milesair 6 months ago

The new Bahamasair planes are made by ATR which is NOT part of AirBus.

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observer2 6 months ago

"Established in November 1981, ATR is a joint partnership between two major European aeronautics players, Airbus and Leonardo."

http://www.atraircraft.com/about-atr/corporate-overview/company-profile.html

Airbus is the controlling shareholder and inbeds its best practices and best of breed, production and maintenance policies and procedures into ATR.

ATR are first class planes. I fly Bahamasair to the islands because of the quality of their equipment and training of their pilots to world class standards. ATR/Airbus would have it no other way.

So why is Bahamasair which is owned by us the Bahamian people subjected us to lesser standards? Where are they flying these 8 planes they bought? To Cuba? To Haiti? Where? and Why.

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milesair 6 months ago

I stand corrected! Just goes to show you that you can learn something new everyday! Thanks for the info.

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licks2 6 months ago

ATR is a Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer headquartered on the grounds of Toulouse Blagnac International Airport in Blagnac, France. It was formed in 1981 by Aérospatiale of France (now Airbus) and Aeritalia (now Leonardo) of Italy. Its primary products are the ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft. I am afraid that observer2 is right. . .BA flies the ATR 72!

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observer2 6 months ago

Thanks Licks2.

The Government really needs to take a more careful look at aviation in the Bahamas to ensure we are safe as possible when flying around the family islands.

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sheeprunner12 6 months ago

Soooo, why does Bahamasair not invest in some smaller ATRs to service the smaller markets....... instead of sending 50-seaters to islands with 15 passengers???? ......... That is the problem that plagues Bahamasair ..... they should either compete sensibly in the Out Islands or withdraw completely.

But we should not jeopardize Bahamians' lives with rogue carriers and pilots.

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