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Editorial: What Really Went On In Treasure Cay?

THERE are very obviously missing pieces in the story of what happened that led to the plane crash in Abaco that killed two pilots.

From what we know so far, two foreign pilots flew the plane into Treasure Cay from the Dominican Republic on Friday. The plane was due to depart on Monday – but then it is reported that the plane was stolen, in a journey that ended in flames.

The plane used the entire runway and ended in bushes beyond the runway’s end, with eyewitnesses saying the plane looked like it was struggling to get off the ground or to get enough power. It has been claimed that the two pilots who were killed, Jason Allen and Lavan Paul, did not have a sufficient pilot rating to fly the aircraft.

More curiously, the two pilots who had flown the plane into the country were reportedly taken into custody by Immigration officers. They were later released – but no explanation has been given for their detention. Those pilots filed a report on Tuesday, the day after the crash, that the plane had been stolen. Yesterday, police said those pilots have already left the country.

Questions were being raised all around. Why was a flight coming to Treasure Cay from the Dominican Republic in the first place? What happened that prompted Immigration to detain the original pilots? When did Allen and Paul arrive in Treasure Cay and what drew their attention to a jet that had only just arrived the preceding Friday? And why would they try to take a plane they didn’t even know how to fly? Will items such as the flight log and the manifest help investigators work out what was going on here?

Curiouser still, Allen and Paul seemed to be prepared for this ahead of time. This was no spontaneous theft, if theft it was, as they presented a required document to officials and went through the normal procedures to board the jet.

Captain Delvin Major, of the Air Accident Investigation Authority, suggested there might not be much more of an investigation for his organisation to carry out, as once they have seen the pilots weren’t authorised to fly the plane, that’s that. If you’re not supposed to be flying the plane, there’s little further need to work out if it was an engine problem or anything else. You weren’t trained, you shouldn’t have flown.

But there is clearly a broader investigation that needs to be done here. What were all these people doing here in Treasure Cay? And what was going on that this particular plane was such a focus of interest, with two sets of pilots and one set being detained by authorities?

Here’s another question to add to the list – how many other flights like this are there?

Haiti crisis

The assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise at his home has shocked the world.

It is, of course, horrific. Leaders around the world have been sending their sympathies, and President Moise’s wife has been rushed to Florida for treatment for her own gunshot wounds suffered in the attack.

It would be an understatement to say that Haiti has been suffering from political turmoil for some considerable time. Elections have failed to be held, parliament has been dissolved, and disputes over when Moise was supposed to have reached the end of his term – his opponents say he was due to go on February 7, but he said his term would end next year because the 2016 elections were postponed.

He planned to change the Haitian Constitution to strengthen the powers of the presidency and prolong his administration, and the result had been thousands of Haitians taking to the street in protest. It has ended with his assassination, an action that can never be justified regardless of the political problems rocking the nation.

For once, the eyes of the world are on Haiti, for all the wrong reasons. The truth is the eyes of the world should have been on Haiti for a long time. It has struggled to establish a fairly elected leadership, it has struggled economically, it has struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, we reported how a photojournalist in Haiti was shot and injured when a Haitian senator pulled a gun outside the country’s parliament and opened fire. Last year, police officers were in a gun battle with the country’s armed forces.

Offers of help and support are not easy to give either – with many Haitians suspicious of US influence in the past in the country, and the country badly hit by cholera after an outbreak linked to United Nations peacekeepers sent there after the 2010 earthquake.

But clearly Haiti is in need. It shouldn’t take this for things to change, but change it must.

Comments

TalRussell 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Speaks volumes on long list questions asks like what would motivate so many mostly democratically ruling leaders from around the world to be in such a rush have been expressing their sympathies over the assassination of Haiti's President, yes?

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ThisIsOurs 4 months, 4 weeks ago

hmmm the most weird thing is here the nothing to see here, investigation closed. They did the same thing when the Surinamese woman said she was raped at the detention centre.

Only speculating, but could it be that a rendezvous saw the pilots detained and signaled to someone else to get the plane out before it could be investigated? or maybe they were just 2 Jesus loving missionaries who had a plane stolen by 2 fun loving and adventure seeking bahamians

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DillyTree 4 months, 4 weeks ago

The easiest explanation is a repo operation.

Plane flies in from Dominican Republic to avoid being repo'ed there. Plane was US registgered and owned -- probably financed. Pilots get tip that plane is about to be repossessed, so fly out to sompeplace "quiet". Question is if they even cleared Bahamian customs and immigration, but they must have if they were questioned and released.

Enter two enterprising pilots who like the idea of an attractive payday for completing a repo. Someone tipped them off, or perhaps they got information through the RBDF -- who knows. Easy pay day, but things went horribly wrong. Thinking we'll find that flaps were locked for security, but pilots didn't do a proper pre-check. No lift despite using the whole runway.

This takes place on Monday.

Plane not reported stolen until Tuesday, yet plane was due to leave Treasure Cay on Monday.

Seems pretty straightforward what happened. Feel terrible for the families of the pilots, despite some obvious bad choices and lapses in judgement.

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lovingbahamas 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Don’t think so. Now, all airplanes are tracked. Anyone can see almost any plane in transit on FlightAware. Furthermore, as the pilots entered the plane they would see the “cargo”. Also, no respectable drug dealer would leave $50 million in cocaine on board the aircraft for days. Just offload it during the night. The plane is registered to a company in Houston. At $300,000 value it’s a “throwaway” plane on a $50 million drug deal. I don’t understand why the investigation of why it crashed ended just because the pilots weren’t rated. That would never happen in the US. Smells like a car full of aged conch to me. Will we ever know the truth? Only if some investigative reporter digs in.

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John 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Assume the aircraft had ‘illegal cargo’ on it. It leaves the Dominican Republic with original pilots. Then it lands in Treasure Cay. The original pilots are ‘arrested’ and detained by immigration. The owner of the ‘illegal cargo’ panics as craft sits on tarmac ‘loaded.’ Looks for two backup pilots to move the plane the Allen-Paul duo are engaged to fly the plane and attempts to do so, not knowing there’s ‘cargo’ on board. In attempting to take off, the heavy plane is not able to gain sufficient altitude and crashes. Both pilots and cargo perishes. In the main time the original pilots are released from immigration and to protect themselves and the owners of the plane, they report the aircraft stolen. He ‘thieves’ were only in possession of the craft for a matter of minutes as it crashes at the end of the runway. But what if the aircraft was under surveillance since it was boarded, then left the Dominican Republic? What if the original pilots were detained by immigration as a tactic to see who would come to claim the aircraft? And after the two ‘unsuspecting’ pilots showed up, the intent was to track the craft even further to its final destination? ( no pun intended), but the unfortunate and fatal crash was not anticipated. The pilots in the crash are both dead and the original pilots claim the aircraft was stolen. Then is there any evidence linking either or both pilots that perished to the original pilots or someone else giving them permission and authority to move the aircraft and where to fly it to? Were any monies exchanged for the flight or some agreement in place? Were the second pilots attempting to take off under the assumption that they were flying an empty jet, only to find out that the aircraft was heavier than expected?

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Proguing 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Sure, two ex-RBDF officers called in urgency to fly a plane that just arrived from the Dominican Republic in a deserted airport, did not suspect that there could be some "cargo" on the plane…

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stislez 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Listen to me! That was planned! I know cuz i know one of the pilots. The police and immigration involved and they knew what was going down. The stolen plane is a clean up of their tracks and to recoup lost money from the plane itself, thats why they make sure put the value in the reports that shows your intention of recouping cost. Don't wrry tho, death knocking at the doors of everyone involved who making it seem like its otherwise from what it was. Those were two great young bahamian men who took a stupid risk to try better their lives. Not making any excuses for their actions but know that these guys were not criminals, they were not drug dealers, they just made the wrong choice and payed with their life. But all dese man dem who tink they hands clean will get whats coming to them.

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Sickened 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Surely there would be traces of drugs or guns in the wreckage, as the plane hit several trees before its final resting place. Some of the cargo would have been scattered around the crash site and out of reach of the fire ball that erupted. Sounds like the investigators were told to roll out - nothing to see here.

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newcitizen 4 months, 4 weeks ago

They waited a day to even get to the wreckage, due to "bad weather" that happened right after the crash. No one seems to be interested in actually investigating though.

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John 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Well it is the two young, Black, Bahamians who lost their lives and whose photos now adorn the front pages of newspapers, labeled as unqualified aircraft thieves. The commissioner can supernatural their phone records and determine if any calls were made by these pilots to anyone connected to the aircraft. Remember people use to stalk airports and docks trying to get passengers to take packages for them. And some did too, not knowing what was in the packages. Innocent people don’t always think like a criminal.

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Proguing 4 months, 4 weeks ago

Assume that the ex-RBDF were supposed to pick up the ex-Colombian militaries and US mercenaries in Haiti who assassinated the President. The plane crashed and the mercenaries without their escape aircraft were killed or captured. End of story.

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ColumbusPillow 4 months, 4 weeks ago

The unlucky two were most probably given the ignition and hatch keys by the original pilots. the plane was not stolen! I am sure the insurance people know this.

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