Drug plane at Glovers Reef salvaged and looted
Law enforcement agencies are trying to solve a mystery that occurred on Northern Two Caye area of the Glovers Reef Atoll, when a plane believed to have been carrying drugs crash-landed in shallow water behind the caye on Tuesday night, April 6. The plane and its cargo mysteriously disappeared from the area sometime du-ing Friday night, April 9.
When the recovery team went to the area on Saturday morning, April 10 to recover the plane the plane was nowhere to be found. It had vanished without a trace.
Police say they have launched an investigation to find out who removed the aircraft and its cargo, but won’t explain why they left the aircraft unattended during the night.
A tour guide found the plane on April 6 while conducting a fly-fishing tour in the Northern Two Caye area with some tourists from Placencia.
When the police and Coast Guard came to the area, they searched for survivors, and found a dead man who has still not been identified. They also reportedly recovered a sealed, red ice chest packed with cocaine.
Reports from a reliable source have reached the Reporter that drugs were found board the plane. The Coast Guard were first on the scene, but so far the Coast Guard has not reported finding any drugs aboard the submerged plane and none have been turned over to the police.
Arrangements were made to lift the plane from the sea, but while the authorities worked out the logistics, the plane was secretly salvaged from the sea bed and moved.
Witnesses in the area who saw the plane during the three days it was in the sea said that it was a small white single-engine plane.
The engine had detached from the fuselage and was in deeper water some 20 feet away.
Fishermen passing the area around 10 o’clock Tuesday night, April 6, report seeing runway landing lights illuminating the private airstrip on the island.
It appears the plane overshot the runway and landed in the sea where it submerged at the southern tip of the island. Possibly it ran out of fuel, some say.
The Glovers Reef Atoll Resort which owns the island also operated and maintained the airstrip, but the resort ceased to function four years ago, and the area has been abandoned since.
All small aircraft operating in Belize have been accounted for, the Department of Civil Aviation announced, leading investigators to conclude that this was a drug plane arriving in Belize from Colombia.
An autopsy performed on the mysterious stranger whose body was found near the island showed cut marks indicating he had been murdered and possibly tortured. There was no water in his lungs, which ruled out drowning.
But the lifting of the aircraft from the sea during one night’s operation suggest a well-financed, well co-ordinated salvage operation beyond the resources of the so-called drug pirates.
A check with Lieutenant Colonel Ganey Dortch,Chief of Staff of the Belize Defense Force, revealed that as far as he knew, the downed aircraft had not moved from where it was first sighted from the air by the BDF air wing, in the water close to the island.