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Flight Home Was For Father’S Birthday

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Dr Ashton Ferguson, left, and Bjorn Ferguson at Sunday’s press conference.

By MORGAN ADDERLEY

Tribune Staff Reporter

madderley@tribunemedia.net

THE pilot of the ill-fated plane that crashed in the waters of Nirvana Beach on Thursday night was coming home to take his parents on a trip to South Africa in celebration of his father’s birthday, relatives revealed yesterday.

Byron Ferguson, 34, always dreamed of flying.

The second son of Roscoe Ferguson, a retired civil servant, and Agnes Ferguson, a popular former broadcaster, his family knew from birth that he was destined to become an aviator. By 14 years old, he was flying, and he eventually graduated from Florida Air Academy, obtaining his pilot’s licence in 1999.

With two decades of flying under his belt, Mr Ferguson is also the father of an 11-year-old daughter and a nine-month-old son. He was recently married to his wife of less than two years.

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Anya Ferguson, Byron Ferguson's wife.

On Thursday night, he was the sole occupant of a PA-27 six-seater that he was flying from West Palm Beach, Florida to New Providence, the family said.

During a press conference held yesterday on the shores of Nirvana Beach, his eldest brother, attorney Bjorn Ferguson, said the pilot was coming home to take his parents on a trip to the continent where he was stationed.

According to Bjorn Ferguson, his brother is currently stationed in North Africa, where he works for a company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“He was scheduled to return to work today,” Bjorn said. “Today (Sunday) is my father’s birthday. He (was) taking my parents to South Africa with him today.

“And this is what we (are) faced with.”

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Byron Ferguson

According to his family, on Thursday night, when Byron Ferguson was approximately 40 miles from Nassau, he contacted local Air Traffic Control to report that he had difficulties with the plane’s door.

About 15 miles from Nassau, he contacted Air Traffic Control again to report engine issues.

His emotional wife Anya told The Tribune that she tracks “every flight” he takes. “I…tracked every flight that he’s been on,” she told The Tribune. “And especially if he’s coming in at nighttime, he would always send the plane’s registration number to let me know that ‘hey I’m leaving now, track the plane, I’m on my way.’

“But something different happened, because I decided to go and search two flight trackers that night. And I noticed that he kept going off the radar on one. But the other one, the Flightaware one, it just kept on coming. But the last I tracked him, (it) said that he landed. That he landed about 10 or 15 minutes ago. So I was already at ease.”

However, the family did not realise he had landed in the waters off Nirvana Beach, not the safety of the Lynden Pindling International Airport.

Mrs Ferguson is holding out hope that her husband will be found alive.

“So for anyone to tell me that ‘oh he didn’t make it out of the plane,’ I just want that negative energy to stay far away from me,” Mrs Ferguson continued. “Because what I want to do now is continue my search efforts. If I don’t have the help of the Police Force, Defence Force, that’s fine. I know persons who are willing to go in the sky, comb the air. I know people who are willing to walk with me.

“A lot of people might say it doesn’t make (any) sense to continue walking, but don’t tell me (that). I’m going to do it even if I’m taking my energy out of myself. That’s my husband. I have a nine-month-old baby, and I have to fight for something. And I’m fighting for him.”

She also said: “He is an excellent pilot and I’m sure he’s out there. I’m not giving up on my husband and I don’t expect anyone out here to give up on him. He’s going to be returned home to us alive. And that’s my final everything. He’s going to be here.”

The family’s personal search efforts have included the use of private planes, boats, and jet skis.

Their dedication to finding him even culminated in tracking down a Carnival Cruise passenger vessel that was rumoured to have seen a flare gun fire early Friday morning. However, upon their investigation it was revealed that these reports were inaccurate.

At the family’s press conference yesterday, Mrs Ferguson reiterated complaints from other relatives about poor communication with officials. “I am Byron’s wife and no (Royal Bahamas Defence Force) officer or police officer has said anything to me,” she told The Tribune. “I haven’t spoken to any of them.”

Yesterday morning, the family had a private meeting with RBDF Commodore Tellis Bethel. While the RBDF is not in charge of the investigation, the family was informed that they are widening their perimeter search.

Comments

TalRussell 1 year, 8 months ago

Ma comrades, impossible things can really happen if we just keep faith trust in divine intervention.

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DDK 1 year, 8 months ago

One of your wisest posts, Comrade.

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TalRussell 1 year, 8 months ago

Ma comrade DDK, I can sense the missing pilot, and his family members are a special loving kinds comrades.

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BahamaRed 1 year, 8 months ago

Hold on... didn't that boy go missing for over a week on the ocean, and they found him alive. Through God anything is possible ... he may just be out there clinging to hope and waiting.

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Gabor 1 year, 8 months ago

I had the privilege to become friends with Roscoe Ferguson and his family when I used to live in the Bahamas. I got to know them well during my 11 year of stay and all 4 boys also became my friends. I made a lot of friends during my stay but none could live up to the Ferguson family. Roscoe and Agi worked tirelessly to put all 4 of their boys through college after college, and in Ashton's case 2 universities. Even though they resided in a not so safe neighborhood where violence, drugs ad alcohol abound all 4 of the boys stayed on the straight and narrow and made their parents proud. Byron was away a lot the last I knew in the Middle East flying planes in Dubai so I only saw him when he came home. The other 3 boys I had contact with on the daily basis except when Ashton went away to university. Night after night the boys would help out in the family bar serving patrons, often doing math and physics homework between two drinks served helping their parents out. I bet Titta's is the only bar where a doctor will serve you a beer when Scoe and Agi are busy and Ashton steps in to help. Bjorn became an accountant first, then joined the police force working in the financial crimes and homicide squads. When he had enough of the misery and nonsense he put himself through law school and was called to the bar. I am not sure he will make it as a lawyer though since he is honest to a fault and there is not one bad bone in him. Anvon the youngest one is an accountant freshly graduated and married. This family is what any parent can only wish to emulate in any country. Every single member is sharp as razor, honest and hard working, kind and God fearing. It breaks my heart seeing the anguish of Agi and the kids. While no emergency response could have changed the fate of the flight It maddens me that they cannot even find the plane now. Nothing ever changes in the Bahamas. Incompetence, corruption, inconsequential idiocy strikes over and over again. I wish the collective lethargy would soon be a thing of the past but might as well wish for the moon. I was thinking to come for a visit lately and I will of course come to be by the sides of my friends. Only I wish it was under different circumstances.

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