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#147138 - 12/30/02 05:07 PM Tropic Air
Richard Chambers Offline
Article about last fridays Tropic Air crash with a Houston family aboard. Looks like it may be a good argument for the boat ride to the island!
www.houstonchronicle.com
"Houston family ok after plane crash into the sea" eek

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#147139 - 12/30/02 05:17 PM Re: Tropic Air
GAY AND DAVID Offline
eek WOW
so very glad that everyone is ok

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#147140 - 12/30/02 05:28 PM Re: Tropic Air
deano Offline
Only a matter of time I think. The planes are often overloaded and flown in instrument conditions without proper navagation gear. (Both on the ground and in the plane) The pilots do a great job with what they have,but some times stretch the boundrys of what is safe. Glad that everyone made it out OK. The Caravan is a tough bird. Count me as a fair weather flier.

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#147141 - 12/30/02 07:16 PM Re: Tropic Air
Chloe Offline
Any landing you can swim away from or walk away, is a good landing. Sorry it happened, but thank God they were ok.

Boats are good, but probably have as many accidents as planes.

All of us that travel to Belize, know we are taking a risk, maybe that is part of the thrill.
_________________________
Dare To Deviate

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#147142 - 12/30/02 07:57 PM Re: Tropic Air
Marty Offline
personally, i have been flying in small planes my whole life, and much prefer them to the big ones. Much safer IMHO.

Capt. Bradley did a heck of a job getting everyone out OK, and thank god no one was hurt.

////////
From a friend...
Well, I'd suspect that Tropic and Maya Air's pilots are better than most.
Tropic probably does more than a hundred takeoffs and landings a
day, mostly on short, narrow runways with heavily loaded aircraft and
often with very strong crosswinds. How many auto-land 767 jockeys
have that kind of seat of the pants experience?
//////////
From Amandala

Thirteen tourist passengers and a Belizean pilot
aboard a Tropic Air Cessna Caravan from Philip Goldson
International Airport were rescued at sea late
yesterday evening, Friday, after the plane crash
landed into the Caribbean Sea two miles from San Pedro
Ambergris Caye.
The wreckage was seen about two miles from the town.
The plane was partially submerged in about five feet
of water, and was completely destroyed.

The flight left Philip Goldson International Airport
around 5:40 that evening. It was due at San Pedro
Municipal Airstrip twenty minutes later, at 6:00 p.m.
The pilot was a Belizean, Roy Bradley. With him were
13 passengers - two couples, a family of five and a
family of four. In the crowd there were eleven
Americans and two French citizens.

According to Johnny Greif, president of Tropic Air,
when the pilot tried to land at the airstrip there was
an airplane already on the runway. As he circled the
island to give the plane time to get off the runway,
another Caravan landed on the runway, so he had to
climb back up again, and circle around for a while.

The third time he tried to land, a sudden gust of wind
affected the plane. Greif said that Bradley tried to
fight the gust by climbing back up, but the weather
was too bad. The Weather Bureau at the time recorded
heavy rain, and winds of between five to ten knots per
hour between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m.

The last time the Civil Aviation Department had made
contact with Bradley was at 5:45 p.m. when the small
craft was about ten miles out of Belize City. Bradley
was supposed to make contact with Tropic Air
headquarters in San Pedro just before he landed. He
did not radio in or touch down at 6:00, however, so
authorities at Tropic Air sent out another Caravan to
look for Bradley. They located him about 6:15.

Tropic Air in San Pedro, when they were informed of
the accident, sent out a boat from Thunderbolt
Travels. The boat arrived at the spot at about 6:30
p.m. The plane was found partially submerged in about
five feet of water, about two miles south of the
airstrip.

The distraught and terrified passengers had to climb
out and get on top of the wings of the Caravan so that
the current wouldn't carry them away. The area was
already dark, and the passengers, according to Greif,
had been exposed to the elements for at least fifteen
to twenty minutes before the rescue boat arrived.

There were no fatalities or serious injuries, but the
passengers were taken to the San Pedro Clinic and
treated for minor lacerations and contusions. They
were released sometime around 8:00 that same night.
According to authorities at Tropic, most of the
passengers' luggage were damaged by water or lost to
the current.

Bradley reported that he got caught in a "micro
burst," which is a sudden gust of wind blowing at 25
to 35 miles per hour. Such winds usually accompany a
thunderstorm. Bradley, Greif said, tried to fly west,
against the condition, but the wind carried the
Caravan down into the water.

Luckily, the plane landed on its belly, but the
Caravan's seats were ripped out of place. The pilot's
side of the plane took the brunt of the crash, and
authorities say that he received minor cuts and
bruises and is still shaken up.

John Greif told Amandala that the anemometer at Tropic
Air headquarters showed that the wind was blowing up
to twenty-three knots at 6:02 that evening. He said
that Bradley did his best to get away from the gust,
but the wind was too strong.

The Tropic Caravan, which was a fourteen-seater, was
worth US$1.5 million. The damage caused is
irreparable, say Tropic Air officials.

Amandala has been informed that the Civil Aviation
Department will salvage the plane and conduct their
own investigation to confirm whether or not the
accident was due to bad weather or the pilot's error.

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#147143 - 12/30/02 10:00 PM Re: Tropic Air
Marty Offline
here's the story referred to above in the Houston paper....

Local family fine after plane crash
By LUCAS WALL
Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle
Eight Houston-area residents survived a plane crash Friday evening in Belize, clinging for 90 minutes in a driving rainstorm to the fuselage that became submerged in shallow water before they were rescued.

Everyone aboard the 14-seat Cessna Caravan survived the impact with only minor injuries. The Tropic Air flight from Belize City to San Pedro went down 2 1/2 miles south of Ambergris Caye, a resort island in the Caribbean Sea popular with American vacationers.

Lance Dreyer, 62, and wife, Sharon, 56, of Houston were aboard the plane with two of their children, Chase, 25, and Chelsea, 22. The family said couples from Sugar Land and The Woodlands were also on the flight, but their names were not available Sunday evening.

The Dreyers were en route Friday to San Pedro for a five-day New Year's vacation, returning to the island for the sixth time in seven years to "just lay out on the beach, go fishing and snorkeling or scuba diving."

They have flown Tropic Air, a Belizean airline founded in 1979 by a Texas A&M graduate, each time for the 15-minute hop from Belize City. All prior flights were uneventful, they said.

The flight they were booked on Friday was full, however, so they were given boarding passes for the next departure. It was dark and raining as the plane took off for San Pedro. Lance Dreyer, a former pilot, said he became worried when the plane started weaving about 10 minutes out.

"I became concerned because the pilot is looking out the window," he said. "At night in a rainstorm, you watch your instruments, you don't look out the window.

"He started wiggling around. He was looking out the window and then with no warning -- he didn't cut back on the power or anything -- he hit (the water)."

There was confusion at first as passengers recovered from the impact and tried to discern their surroundings.

"When the plane landed on the water, we didn't know. I thought we had landed at San Pedro and he skidded off the runway," Lance Dreyer said. "A lot of people didn't understand. It happened so quickly."

His wife described the impact "like being in a car going 100 miles (per hour) plus and hitting a concrete wall."

As dust and smoke filled the cabin, Lance Dreyer opened the rear door.

"Water just went whoosh into the plane," he said. "Everybody was screaming. I got out of the plane and started pushing everyone up on top."

The Dreyers said they counted 13 people on the plane, including the pilot, with one empty seat. Belize police, however, said their report indicates the plane was full.

Once on top of the fuselage, the passengers could see the lights of San Pedro in the distance, so they knew land wasn't too far off.

"My concern was that the plane was totally going to sink," Lance Dreyer said. "I didn't know how deep it was."

So after ensuring everyone was out of the plane, he dove down and quickly reached the bottom. He could see the aircraft lodged in the sand, then surfaced to report the good news. It brought relief to anxious passengers.

"We kind of all laughed about it," he said. "At that point we knew: a) we survived the crash, b) the plane ain't going to sink any further, and c) the worst thing that's going to happen to us is we'll sit here all night but at least we're going to live."

Then several yellow life jackets floated out of the plane along with a few passengers' carry-on bags. One man from The Woodlands happened to have a VHF radio and global-positioning system in his bag. He radioed for help, reaching someone at the San Pedro airport, and relayed their coordinates. Rescue boats arrived about 30 minutes later and took everyone to San Pedro.

The Dreyers were driven to their hotel to warm up and eat. They lost most of their money and other carry-on items but would later discover a lucky break: Their luggage failed to make the flight and was still in Belize City.

They spent Friday night in San Pedro, then decided to scrub their vacation and return home. This time they took a water taxi to Belize City, where they had to visit the U.S. Embassy to obtain temporary travel documents before flying home Saturday evening.

G. Michael Reid, Belize Police Department spokesman, said his country's Transportation Ministry is investigating the incident, which he described as "an emergency landing."

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#147144 - 12/30/02 10:19 PM Re: Tropic Air
Bobber Offline
Personally speaking, people die of respiratory illness frequently, but I don't plan on stopping my breathing. No offense to Jet, but I have to have my first Belikin as quick as possible, and out of a real bottle. The difference between the ferry and the plane is a calculated risk I am willing to take. Just my opinion.
_________________________
Been there, done that, the washing machine ate the T-shirt

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#147145 - 12/30/02 10:22 PM Re: Tropic Air
susangg Offline
I sure would like to see the results of the investigation.

From the limited facts provided, it looks like the pilot did a hell of a job getting the plane down safely. Not too many crash landings where everybody walks away and nobody even has to be hospitalized.

But: It also appears that there may be problems with airline policies.

For one, communication. Was ground control notifying pilots of what previous flights had experienced? If so, who made the decision to keep flying instead of waiting til the storm abated and conditions improved (even if it meant putting the passengers up in a hotel for the night and flying them in the next morning?) Bad weather is common, as we all know, and there should be clear policies on how to respond to it.

Equipment: Why did it take a passenger with a mobile radio to get help? Weren't the airplane's communications system working? Was the pilot able to radio control that he was going down? If not, why not? Was all instrumentation working? When was the last time it was tested?

Safety policy: Is there a policy of giving passengers safety info (where are the life jackets, etc.) routinely as major airlines do? I have to admit that I don't recall this happening on my many flights. If the pilot did not do this, I would focus on management rather than the pilot because its almost certain that the airline is not directing this to be done.

A full investigation and public release of all results is very important. I hope its done quickly and thoroughly. I have always told my guests that the airlines have an excellent safety record and I'd like to be able to keep saying that.
_________________________
Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: susangg@garcia.mpowermail.com

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#147146 - 12/30/02 10:54 PM Re: Tropic Air
Ernie B Offline
The summary that Marty entered (above) does not jibe with the entire text of the Houston Chronicle. The Dreyer familey stated Tropic gave no saftey briefing (fasten seat belts, life vests, etc)and that the pilot did nothing to help pull the passengers to safety.

Marty seems to think that Capt.Bradley "did a good job"

I belive if you reprint an article, print it in its entirety or it could leave out important information.
_________________________
Gun Control is Hitting Your Target.

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#147147 - 12/30/02 11:12 PM Re: Tropic Air
Chloe Offline
Investigation will take along time, months.

My guess it will read......pilot error.

One pilot is most dispensable.

I for one would want this PILOT on my next flights, he has shown his abilities, set that baby down, and NO one injured.

The ground crew on San Pedro, had to know the flight was in trouble and overdue, and I am sure they had put the emergency people in gear, before the call came from the passenger.

Pondering today, if that had happened to me and my family last year during this time, would we have stayed for our vacation, or rushed out of there.

My best guess, since we all have true grit in this family, we would have stayed, relaxed, counted our blessings on Ambergris, But who really knows what they would have really done given that scare.

It is so wonderful that God watched over all of them.
_________________________
Dare To Deviate

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