Albany native dies in Belize plane crash
A member of a prominent Albany family who was teaching school children and building a community in Belize has died in a plane crash.
Michael Casey and his young family all died Friday while on board a private plane piloted by Sir Barry Bowen.
Mike Casey, his wife Jill and their two children, a three year old and a baby, were all passengers in the plane when it went down off the coast of Belize late Friday afternoon. No one survived.
Witnesses say a wing came off the plane, causing it to nose dive.
The white single-propeller airplane crashed in a marshy, swampy area, in San Pedro, according to local reports. Local rescuers tried to turn the plane over and remove the victims, but to no avail.
Bowen, a bottling magnate on the island, was on his way to a fundraising event he was hosting, according to the San Pedro Daily. According to information from RSV Media, the plane suffered a mechanical problem, clipped a building under construction and flipped. Bowen lived on San Pedro.
Bowen owned Gallon Jug, a tourist community in Belize, where Mike and Jill Casey were teachers. Jill taught grades 3 and 4. Mike taught grades 7 and 8, according to his blog. They moved there nine years ago. Their dog “Timber” is the school mascot.
Belize is located just south of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, bordered by Guatemala to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=16338
Casey communicated with students in the Bethlehem School District, through an international program, according to his family in Albany. He had been working in Gallon Jug, Belize as a principal and teacher at Gallon Jug School.
He recently took over as president of the local organization, World’s Window, Inc., in Albany, a charity that has ties around the world. According to the website, “we are involved in a huge variety of projects in several regions of the world. We focus on Health, Education, the creation of Self Sustaining Communities and Empowerment for all people.”
In a letter Mike wrote to introduce himself, he said he was the principal and teacher at Gallon Jug Community School.
“You may need a magnifying glass to find us because we are a small country but we have a lot to offer,” Casey wrote on the website. “Our home is a 130,000 acres of rainforest and a small farm. On the farm we have cattle, oranges, bananas, coffee…We have a tiny school of 75 children.”
“We came to Belize for an opportunity to teach outside our country of the United States. We also came here to meet other ethnic groups and to see the rainforest of Belize. Belize still has 70% of its rainforests left to be explored and that attracted us.”
He loved to ski, mountain bike, hike, garden, bird watch and botany. http://gallonjugschool.googlepages.com/home http://bcsd.k12.ny.us/middle/global/pupilblz/intro.htm