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#527137 - 11/17/17 12:13 PM Accident at Placencia Airstrip  
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This morning at approximately 8:45 am, Acting Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Faber along with Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development and Immigration Hon. Godwin Hulse were enroute to Punta Gorda Town via a Tropic Air flight. Upon takeoff from the Placencia Airstrip, the left landing wheel made contact with a passing vehicle that had managed to bypass one of the lowered barriers. The impact caused the Tropic Air vessel to plunge into the sea right off the coast of Placencia not far from the airstrip. A rescue team was sent out and all passengers onboard the plane, including the pilot, were transported safely back to land. Preliminarily, there are no reports of any sustained injuries.

Source: UDP on facebook

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Live and let live
#527138 - 11/17/17 01:05 PM Re: Accident at Placencia Airstrip [Re: Short]  
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Driver apprehended I hope??

#527140 - 11/17/17 01:43 PM Hon. Patrick Faber, Hon. Godwin Hulse Safe: Plane Crash  
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Acting Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Faber and Minister of Agriculture Hon. Godwin Hulse Safe After Plane Crash in Placencia

At approximately 8:45 am on November 17th, Acting Prime Minister Hon. Patrick Faber along with Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development and Immigration Hon. Godwin Hulse were enroute to Punta Gorda Town via a Tropic Air flight.

Upon takeoff from the Placencia Airstrip, the left landing wheel made contact with a passing vehicle that had managed to bypass one of the lowered barriers. The impact caused the Tropic Air vessel to plunge into the sea right off the coast of Placencia not far from the airstrip.

A rescue team was sent out and all passengers on board the plane, including the pilot, were transported safely back to land. Preliminarily, there are no reports of any sustained injuries.

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#527142 - 11/17/17 02:11 PM Re: Accident at Placencia Airstrip [Re: Short]  
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Statement from Tropic Air:

Tropic Air has confirmed that one of our aircraft clipped a vehicle, that crossed the end of the runway, as it was taking off from the Placencia airstrip this morning. The subsequent loss of airspeed resulted in the pilot conducting a forced landing in the water beyond the end of the runway. All 7 passengers and crew members are safe.

The Belize Airports Authority had placed barriers and signage in place at the Placencia airstrip to prevent just such an occurrence. In the wake of what has happened, Tropic Air in coordination with the Belize Airports Authority and the Belize Department of Civil Aviation, are looking at how this vehicle passed in front of the departing aircraft, and what measures need to be implemented immediately to prevent another such occurrence.

As a responsible stakeholder in the aviation industry, Tropic Air maintains as its primary focus the safe and expeditious transport of its customers. Tropic Air continues to meet and exceed all industry standards. Tropic recently completed its third ISSA audit in accordance with International Air Transport Association standards.

It is important to note that this incident was in no way a reflection of Tropic Air's operational, maintenance or business practices.


Live and let live
#527144 - 11/17/17 02:16 PM Re: Hon. Patrick Faber, Hon. Godwin Hulse Safe: Plane Crash [Re: Marty]  
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Short video...

Tropic Air issues statement about Placencia plane accident

Tropic Air has confirmed that one of our aircraft clipped a vehicle, that crossed the end of the runway, as it was taking off from the Placencia airstrip this morning. The subsequent loss of airspeed resulted in the pilot conducting a forced landing in the water beyond the end of the runway. All 7 passengers and crew members are safe.

The Belize Airports Authority had placed barriers and signage in place at the Placencia airstrip to prevent just such an occurrence. In the wake of what has happened, Tropic Air in coordination with the Belize Airports Authority and the Belize Department of Civil Aviation, are looking at how this vehicle passed in front of the departing aircraft, and what measures need to be implemented immediately to prevent another such occurrence.

As a responsible stakeholder in the aviation industry, Tropic Air maintains as its primary focus the safe and expeditious transport of its customers. Tropic Air continues to meet and exceed all industry standards. Tropic recently completed its third ISSA audit in accordance with International Air Transport Association standards.

It is important to note that this incident was in no way a reflection of Tropic Air's operational, maintenance or business practices.


#527148 - 11/18/17 05:52 AM Re: Hon. Patrick Faber, Hon. Godwin Hulse Safe: Plane Crash [Re: Marty]  
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Plane Took A Dive, Acting PM Survived

The news whipped across Belize at around 9:00 this morning when word went out that a Tropic Air plane had gone down and the Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber was on board.

It seemed unbelievable at first, but it did happen. Very luckily, no one was hurt. Deputy PM Faber - along with his Cabinet colleague Godwin Hulse and five other passengers were rescued in the waters just off the Placencia coast near the airstrip.

The amazing part is that not only was Faber unhurt, neither was his phone! The Deputy was good enough to snap a few selfies of his strange and surprising plunge.

Daniel Ortiz reports from Placencia that the plane had a most unfortunate, but not unforeseeable mishap: it clipped the top of a passing vehicle at the Placencia Airstrip:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
When a plane takes off from the Placencia Airstrip, these 2 barriers are supposed to go down, and all road traffic is to stop and give way for the plane to take off.

But, this morning, that's not what happened - far from it in fact: a Subaru SUV passed the barrier and came right into the path of an ascending Tropic Air Cessna Caravan. The plane clipped the passenger side of the SUV.

At this time, it is unclear which safety procedures failed and caused the plane to make a forced landing in the sea.

Experienced persons tell us that whenever these planes are loaded, it takes longer for the aircraft to take off. It used up the entire runway, and hit the passing vehicle, veering off course.

A press release from Tropic Air says, quote, "The subsequent loss of airspeed resulted in the pilot conducting a forced landing in the water beyond the end of the runway." End quote.

There were 7 passengers in the aircraft, including Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber; Minister Godwin Hulse; Christy Mastry; the General Manager of Belize Infrastructure Limited, and several members of the conservation community. They experienced that terrifying crash landing, and were dumped into the sea in front of the Placencia peninsula.

These 4 employees of the Placencia Branch of the Belize Water Services saw the entire accident unfold, and they immediately jumped into action to render aid.

Brandon Torres - First Responder
"From we got there, the barrier on our side went down. So, we stopped. We automatically know that a plane is landing or taking off. So, we stopped, and we watched on the other side; the barrier is still up. So, we said, well, how could that be? But, the vehicle is still coming, so we said, well, this is going to be a close call. Well, the driver continued, and I guess by the time he saw it, I guess he thought he could beat it, but it was right there. It was too late, it hit on the passenger side, and instantly, the vehicle came to a stop."

Donald Sutherland - First Responder
"The plane's wheel hit the vehicle, and from the time I saw it hit, I saw that it started to wobble."

Brandon Torres
"I guess the pilot was trying to bring it back up, and then it just went and went that way. And - in the water. I thought it was gonna maybe blow up or something."

Stefan Andrews - First Responder
"We saw the wheel of the plan slam into the top of the car. All of us just jumped out of our ride and tried to help who was in the car."

Arnie White
"Me, Mr. Sutherland, and all of us tried to take out the gentleman who - well actually, it looked like he was dead to me, because the man's neck looked like it was broken. So, we just tried to take him out of the vehicle, to see what happened, and the man started to move."

Stefan Andrews
"And then, Me and Mr. Arnie White we took off toward the sea, the beach, and we just went into the water, trying to help the people in the water. And when we reached there, a vessel arrived and tried to help same way."

Arnie White
"So, we [went] further on to the plane because we saw everybody standing up on the plane. We decided to go closer, and we thought to ourselves that it's better that we start to swim out there. So, when we swam out there, before we reached out there, a guys from Tropic had a little vessel that we tried to put the guests in."

We were actually standing on the plan to help assist the people to get into the boat from off the plane because the plane was still sinking."

Very fortunately, everyone onboard this flight survived and are safe. Knowing that the crash caused a stir all over Belize, Deputy Prime Minister posted these pictures on his Facebook page. He also commented, quote, "I'm safe guys... all passengers of the tropic flight survived after crashing into the sea ...Rescued at sea off the shore of Placencia."

Brandon Torres
"God is with us and with the people. Everybody survived, minor injuries, and I'm so thankful for my co-workers both of them. He's a licensed tour guide, and he's taking his classes right now to be a tour guide. So, these are trained swimmers. They know about CPR, everything. So, they went into action and helped save those people's lives, Minister's lives, the pilot's lives."

Donald Sutherland
"I would never like to see anything happen like that, you know. Because it can be that all those people in the plane could have died. Even from the driver of the vehicle that hit the plane could have died. But the Almighty works. Nobody is more powerful than the almighty."

So, what happened to cause this dangerous accident, and who's responsible?

Brandon Torres
"From experience, I know it would have happened someday because I used to work at the airstrip, Me and Arnie White used to work at the airstrip, and we have that experience of seeing these planes taking off with a full load, luggage passengers, and have to eat up that entire runway. So, at that time it was even worse because the barriers weren't installed as yet. It got installed now, but the workers from the airstrip, at Tropic Air, they said that they've been having malfunctions with barriers. So, they said that the put in the request to have it fixed, and I guess they didn't fix it, and they said that it was for days. They came out there running and complaining. So, obviously it's Aviation's fault, and it's also the fault of the driver. The driver should have seen the plane taking off, because even if the barrier is still up and you're a driver, and you already know. You see all these signs coming around the airstrip, you'd have to take precautions."

Despite numerous attempts, we could not reach Faber or Hulse for comment today.

Tropic Air President: It Won’t Happen Again

Government issued a statement saying, quote, "Upon takeoff from the Placencia Airstrip, the left landing wheel made contact with a passing vehicle that had managed to bypass one of the lowered barriers." End quote.

Tropic Air's release says, quote, "Tropic Air in coordination with the Belize Airports Authority and the Belize Department of Civil Aviation are looking at how this vehicle passed in front of the departing aircraft and what measures need to be implemented immediately to prevent another such occurrence."

That's what we spoke to Tropic Air President John Greif about today via telephone from San Pedro:...

John Greif, President - Tropic Air
"The driver went past the warnings, and apparently past cars that were parked waiting for us to depart, so...we really don't know what we could have done differently."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"What would you say about the skill of the pilot?"

John Greif
"Well somebody said he's the Sully of Belize. Because it took an incredibly skillful pilot to, have practically no time, being only feet above the water to make a safe landing."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"How do we prevent a recurrence?"

John Greif
"Well, Jules, that's really where we need to dig deeper. We had thought that there were enough safety barriers in place to prevent this from happening. But obviously, we were wrong, so, I think as a community the aviation community has to, take a hard look at this."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"Let's speak about the, the barrier itself. Was it assuredly working at the time of this morning's accident?"

John Greif
"I've gotten both reports, Jules. There are two of em: one of them is on the north side, and one on the south side of the runway. And I've gotten some reports that only the south one went down, but then I've also got reports that they both went down, so...I really, can't comment on that."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"Does Tropic Air need to exercise more vigilance in terms of assigning a staffer, to actually be there with a manual direction, or stopping of traffic in the event that the barriers aren't working reliably?"

John Greif
"But if there were no barriers at all, there are plenty of signs warning of low flying aircraft and don't traverse this point without checking to see if the runaway is clear. And as I said it is my understanding that there were other drivers that were stopped and waiting for us to depart."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"Is there any thought on perhaps moving the switch. I know the switch is not remote and you actually have to go into a box to open it and the box is a little ways off. We always have to factor in the human element, that sometimes people are lazy and just say "man, it's alright.""

John Greif
"Yep, that would certainly be a solution. To put the switch on the barrier itself and then if the barrier doesn't go down, the operator stays there and physically blocks the traffic."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"And are you certain that that did not happen in this case? Insofar as, maybe it was just a neglect of responsibility and just saying, man, "it will be ok," and then, the unexpected occurs."

John Greif
"Knowing that staff there, Jules, that staff is one of our groups of stars, so I doubt that would have been the case, but like I said, I've gotten conflicting reports and having not seen it or there being no video available I really couldn't say."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"What sort of emotional rollercoaster did you go through this morning?"

John Greif
"It's a real emotional rollercoaster. Because the first thing you think of is anybody hurt, are there any fatalities? Are there any injuries? And then an incredible surge of relief when you find out that not only were there no fatalities, but there were no serious injuries. So, it's a real emotional rollercoaster."

Greif says that all the passengers were assessed to be "ok", and a few of the passengers wanted to see Doctors in Belize which the airline facilitated.

We could not get comment from the Civil Aviation Department.

Channel 7


Tropic Air Plane, with Ministers and Others Inside, Sinks after Clipping Vehicle at Airstrip

A Tropic Air flight carrying Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber and Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse plunged into the Caribbean Sea in Placencia shortly before nine o’clock this morning. Reports are that upon taking off from the Placencia Airstrip, the left landing wheel made contact with a passing vehicle that had managed to bypass the barriers.  The impact caused the aircraft to nose dive into the nearby water in front of the airstrip. While all passengers on board the plane and inside the vehicle were rescued, an investigation is ongoing to determine who is responsible for the incident and what additional safety measures, if necessary, needs to be put in place. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

Just before nine this morning, as a Tropic Air plane en route to Punta Gorda took off from the Placencia airstrip, one of the wheels crashed into a Subaru SUV that crossed in its path. On board at the time of the incident were eleven persons, including the pilot and Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber and Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse, who were on their way to the official launch of the PG Multipurpose Complex. The aircraft crash landed in the nearby sea, several hundred feet from the shoreline. The plane quickly submerged with only the tip of its tail exposed. A Belize Water Service crew witnessed the frightening ordeal and immediately ran to the rescue of the vehicle’s occupants first.

Arnie Whyte, Water Works Technician

“We respond and jump out of the vehicle and just run to see what was going on. With that we stopped and helped the passenger on the passenger side to get out of the vehicle cause the whole side was mashed in and he was also bleeding and it looked like he was dead; like ih neck bruk or something. So wit that we helped him out and then me and Mister Andrews went towards the beach.”

As the BWS technicians pulled the men from the vehicle with the assistance of other residents and responders, they turned their attention to the plane and its passengers.  Without hesitation, they plunged into the sea and swam to the crash site to rescue those in the water; shortly after they were joined by boats and a nearby tour guide.

Arnie Whyte

“Instead of taking pictures, we end up swimming out there to assist the passengers on the plane and assist them with getting out of the plane.”

Duane Moody

“So when you reach to the beach, tell me what you guys saw.”

Stephon AndrewsField Worker

“When we reach the beach, we saw that there was people on top of the plane trying to reach to safety. So we decided to go in closer and that’s when Mister Arnie Whyte told me if I wanted to swim and I said let’s go. We went so close; there was gas in the water and we decided to continue and when we reach there, there were so many people; some were already trying to swim in already. And that’s when me and Mister Arnie Whyte reached by the boat, there were so many people on top of the boat and we decided to wait cause there were some people from Tropic Air coming to assist the people with a smaller vessel, no engine. Not everyone got into the boat; at least….”

Arnie Whyte

“…at least four passengers got into the boat.”

Duane Moody

“This boat, I understand that it was actually a tour that was going out, saw what happened and they diverted…”

Arnie Whyte

“When they came, we only had four passengers in the small vessel that they took out to assist the people with. With that then a vessel was going to take a tour out and instead of going out, he came to assist. Upon coming to assist, he said he could take the passengers, but not everybody. But who were on the plane we tried to get them to safety.”

Police and EMTs also responded to the scene; several persons including the pilot and the front seat passenger in the vehicle were injured in the accident.

Arnie Whyte

“He was in total shock; the driver couldn’t even move. All he did was just sit still and just tremble. He couldn’t even react to anybody talking to him or anything. He was so shock that he couldn’t even move. So instead we tried to assist the person that couldn’t help himself to come out. So we opened the door and assist him in getting out of the vehicle.”

Stephon Andrews

“There was this one man complaining about his rib; he hurt his rib. And there was one of the pilot who was bleeding on the forehead.”

In the aftermath, Acting PM Faber posted that he was okay and that everyone was safe. But what led to the collision is being investigated by representatives from Civil Aviation and the Belize Airports Authority.  It is known that the location of the runway has always been dangerously close to the Placencia Road. Low-lying barriers are in place to control the flow of traffic during the landing and takeoff of airplanes. Here’s what eyewitness Arnie Whyte says he and his team observed and who it is believed was responsible for the mishap.

Arnie Whyte

“Upon reaching the airstrip, we stopped because one of the barriers was done, but we neva notice if the plane was landing or taking off. Upon reaching at the bump, we noticed that the plane was taking off and the next barrier was not down and the driver just jump the bump and continue drive completely around. And upon reaching the center of the curve, the right wheel of the plane just collided into the vehicle and the plane just continue before it went down in the water. I worked at Tropic Air for eight years before I resign and come dah WASA. Before even they mi have gate, we does have to deal with that situation—di try stop traffic and thing because of the plane. Then dehn put in bumps; after bumps, we still deos have to try stop the traffic. From deh, dehn get the gates and whatsoever, but from my time deh I see plane wheel roll top ah vehicle and all that. But I neva see something happen like what happened today.”

Channel 5


#527185 - 11/20/17 05:24 AM Re: Accident at Placencia Airstrip [Re: Short]  
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Friday’s plane crash triggers investigations looking into several factors

An investigation has been launched into the Friday morning plane crash at the Placencia municipal airstrip, to determine who was at fault for the incident.

There have been varied reports over whether one of the barriers at both ends of the runway was lowered to prevent the accident from happening.

Normally, both barriers are lowered whenever planes touch down or take off to prevent vehicular traffic from passing in front of the runway during those times.

A witness reported that on that particular day, only one of the barriers was lowered, however the Northern barrier was not lowered, resulting in the free flow of vehicular traffic in front of the departing aircraft.

In its press release, Tropic Air stated that the Belize Airports Authority (BBA) and the Belize Department of Civil Aviation are conducting an investigation to determine how the vehicle passed in front of the departing aircraft as the BAA had placed both barriers and signage in place to prevent such occurrence.

Tropic Air’s president John Greif also stated that he had gotten mix reports that only one of the barriers went down that day. He said he was later informed that both of the barriers were functional at the time of the incident.

The investigation is also reportedly looking into whether the plane was overloaded.

Experienced personnel say that overloaded planes pose a great risk for passengers as it results in low and slow lift-off.

The Reporter

The Tropic Air release said that the aircraft had clipped the vehicle which had crossed the end of the runway as it was taking off, resulting in the subsequent loss of airspeed, and the crash-landing.

The BBA, Tropic Air, and the Belize Department of Civil Aviation are also looking at immediate measures that need to be implemented to prevent a reccurrence.

Seven passengers who were on board the plane all escaped unhurt and were rescued from the sea, including Patrick Faber, currently acting as Prime Minister, and Minister of Agriculture, Godwin Hulse.



#527187 - 11/20/17 05:33 AM Re: Accident at Placencia Airstrip [Re: Short]  
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Any news on the condition of the injured passenger in the car? Eye witnesses said he appeared to be badly injured?

#527214 - 11/22/17 05:48 AM Re: Accident at Placencia Airstrip [Re: Short]  
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Hon. Hulse Didn't Want To Drown In A Sunken Plane

Minister Godwin Hulse's account is similar - but different - because Hulse, who is an engineer by training - prepared himself for the water landing in a different way. He told us how his main idea was to get out immediately and not drown in a sinking plane. We spoke to him via phone - where he picks up the story at the moment of takeoff:...

Hon. Godwin Hulse, Survived Downed Plane
"And I looked through the window and I saw the vehicle, but I could not imagine that that vehicle would not stop. I did see the vehicle going, but I didn't pay it any attention. So when I heard this huge bang, I could not imagine that it was something we hit and then immediately I knew we would have landed in the sea, because whether that was a hole blown in the bottom or something, we were not in any position to land back on land. I will commend the pilot, because I think he accelerated and the plane continue to rise which was good. I think we went maybe a minute, if not less, and we got to maybe 200-300 feet and then I just notice when the wing dips and I knew his was it. So I braced myself and we hit the water."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"At that point where you fearing for your life?"

Hon. Godwin Hulse
"No, I didn't reached that stage. As it hit I took off my seatbelt and try to scramble for an exit. I think I shouted to every we gotta get out and then there was a guy behind me, I still don't know who he was, but he got the door open and that was good, because my first thought if this plane sinks and we don't get an exit, it would be hard to get out. And then water began to rush in. The plane was taking in water pretty quickly. Anyway I was looking for a life vest. I couldn't find one, but he helped me to get one from under the seat by the door there. By this time I didn't bother to put it on. I was concerned with my glasses, because you know I am blind - I have to wear my glasses and then O got out the plane and somehow I quickly made it to the wing and hang on the wing to get my bearing and looking around I saw the DPM came out. He didn't have a vest, he seemed to be disoriented a little bit, but I had commended this lady Miss Robinson, because like I said she was like really and expert. She began to corral people around including people like myself. Christy Mastry helped the DPM and so we got to the wing and then while we were there, it was a little more stable and then of course that began to go down. By that time we had put on our vest and we were able to have buoyancy."

"We were like a quarter mile out, about 1300-1400 feet from the shore and we were probably were in about 18 feet of water thereabout and when the help came, but this couldn't carry anybody. But just when that was happening a boat was passing and so the boat pulled up and we got onboard the boat and that took us then to shore."

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"Did you or others panic or fear for their lives?"

Hon. Godwin Hulse
"I was kind of determine not to drown in that plane, as best as I could and that anybody could drown in that plane, because once it went down and it was full of water and we were in there, that would have been a hell of a thing."

"It's good to be alive, I am a people's person, do it's good to be alive."

And while he is happy to be alive, Hulse echoes Faber when he says more has to be done to ensure strict safety measures in the area.

DPM Faber Narrates Plane Accident

On Friday's news, we told you about the Tropic Air Flight which landed in the sea in front of the Placencia Airstrip. There were 7 passengers on the flight including Acting Prime Minister Patrick Faber; his Cabinet colleague, Godwin Hulse; and the General Manager of Belize Infrastructure Limited, Christy Mastry.

They were headed to Punta Gorda for the official opening ceremony of the PG sporting complex, but, they never made it because as soon as the flight was attempting to take off from the Placencia Airstrip, a Subaru SUV ran into the path of the ascending plane. That vehicle's passenger side clipped the landing gear, and according to Tropic Air, the impact caused the aircraft to lose the speed required to remain airborne. The pilot had to make a forced landing in the sea.

It's the type of nightmare that no passenger would want to experience, and in his first interview since the accident, Deputy Prime Minister Faber described the entire accident to the press this evening. Here's what he had to say:

Hon. Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister
"So we left Belize as I mentioned and we stopped in Dangriga and took off uneventfully to Placencia and dropped off passengers there. I was in deep discussion with my colleague Christry Mastry and BIL. It was a BIL event as well and really even moving off the runway and looking to take off was pretty uneventful. This is, again, something that is routine. I couldn't tell that anything was wrong when the plane was taking off from Placencia until we heard the loud crashing sound and then realized quickly as we continue to ascend that there was a problem; that something was terribly wrong. We ascending I think for another few seconds, maybe up to a minute, and then realized that we were going to go down pretty fast. I think the pilot lost the engine and we then decided to brace for impact. All that was going through my mind was that this can't be real, this can't be happening - this is something that I'm sure everybody who rides one of these planes, think about all the time, but you never really believe it is going to happen and here it was happening. So I contemplated that and try to do my best to prepare my mind for a crash landing"

"The landing itself I will say was not that bad, at least not for me. I would have to imagine not that bad for any of the other passengers either, because nobody was hurt to that extent. This is after you evaluate what has happened. I think the pilot did a very skillful job. If you consider all that could have gone wrong. The fact that the plane has been hit by a car - that could have spun it over. The fact that it is up in the air and you have to make now a landing in the sea that could flip the plane. It could have been that we were upside down trapped inside, water getting in, the seatbelts won't open as a result of the rumble or the turn over."

"I really believe that the pilot did a very, very skillful job at landing the plane in the manner in which he did. But the most difficult part for me is when we touched the water. I will tell you that I am a non-swimmer so that became a problem for me and I was sitting immediately behind the pilot and so the pilot opened the door that is alongside him and then I got out of the water. By that time put on my life vest and I had my knapsack which is equip with the compartments for computers and iPads and all of this. So I was able to float on that for just a few minutes before it became soak and started going down. It was then that I was helped. The pilot helped me and also Miss Mastry to get on the wing and that was where I stayed until the plane itself started going down further and further."

"The outpour of support and the outpour of concern was tremendous and it's a good feeling to be loved you know. It was in deed very heartwarming to received and to read after all that happened the many, many concerns, the many messages, the many outpourings of love that came and of course I was very relieve to receive all of that and to know that I would be able to see those people again and to say thank you, I appreciate the concern that you showed, because it could easily have been another way."

Faber told us that he is expected to fully recover from the physical discomforts of the accident. Other occupants of the plane suffered minor injuries.

The Deputy Prime Minister told us that his biggest concern in the accident was the rescue effort, which was not as immediate as the circumstances required. As you heard, he said that he is a non-swimmer and he was worried about being trapped in deep waters for an extended period of time.

Civil Aviation Looking For Answers

And it's the job of the Civil Aviation Department to find out if that barrier was working. As of tonight, they still aren't sure which safety procedures failed and caused the vehicle to end up in the path of the aircraft while it was trying to take off.

On Friday newscast, first responders told us that the barriers did not go down reliably to warn the driver that he needed to give way to the ascending Cessna caravan.

So, we asked the Deputy Director of the Civil Aviation Department if the investigators have been able to confirm that, and he told us via phone today that it is still inconclusive. He was only able to share preliminary information:

Gilberto Torres, Deputy Director - Civil Aviation
"At the departure at approximately 8:55am, the aircraft came into contact with a vehicle traversing the departure part of the aircraft. This caused the aircraft to ditch and subsequently the aircraft had to do its emergency landing and its emergency evacuation."

"Onboard the aircraft were 9 passengers and 2 crew. When the mishap happened, the aircraft ditched into the waters into the sea. The passengers and crew exited with assistance from the locals in Placencia and also Tropic Air and staff and they made their way to shore."

"Subsequently they were treated with minor injuries by a medical team."

Daniel Ortiz, reporter
"Have the investigators been able to determine whether or not the barriers on both sides were functioning and reliably went down to indicate to traffic on both sides of the airstrip that the Tropic Air flight was attempting to take off?"

Gilberto Torres
"Yes sir, that is the question as we speak. Those interviews are being carried out and until they are conducted, we would be able to determine that. Yes, there are operational procedures at the Placencia Airstrip with regards to the operation on aircraft with the use of the road barriers, sleeping policemen, signage and of course the implementation of these procedures so that aircraft can land and depart safely."

"At this point in time we are unable to determine that, as the investigation continues."

The deputy director told us that drivers are expected to take precautions went approaching the curve around the Placencia airstrip.

Channel 7


#527232 - 11/23/17 05:57 AM Re: Accident at Placencia Airstrip [Re: Short]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,721
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Tropic Air Flight 3073 a Total Loss

Last Friday Tropic Air flight 3073 was forced to land in the sea after the wheel clipped the top of a SUV that was on the road at the Placencia Airstrip. The flight was departing from the airstrip at approximately 8:55 in the morning en route to Punta Gorda. The Cessna Caravan aircraft came into contact with the vehicle and the pilot was forced to conduct an emergency landing on sea not far from the airstrip. Nine passengers and two crew members exited with assistance from locals and the crew members of Tropic Air. They were all treated for minor injuries. The Civil Aviation team is still on the ground conducting their investigation and Gilberto Torres deputy director of the Department says they still cannot say what went wrong with the barriers.

Gilberto Torres – Deputy Director

“There are operational procedures at the Placencia airstrip with regards to the use of the road barriers, sleeping policemen, signage and of course the implementation of these procedures so that aircraft can land and depart safely. At this point in time, we are unable to determine that as the investigation continues. The Belize Airport Authority has conducted certain surveillance and has ensured that the implementation of all operational aspects are in place. There are other operational procedures in place and the Department of Civil Aviation has indeed come stronger now with additional corrective measures if there would need to be and that is in place.”

The plane was removed from the sea and according to President of Tropic Air John Grief III, the company sustained a total loss but it has not affected their scheduling.

John Grief III – President of Tropic Air

“As you probably know or most Belizeans know the airplane that we fly have only got a pilot and sometimes a copilot so there’s no cabin crew to help anybody put on life jackets so we have what we call self-donning life jackets, in other words, lifejackets that you put on yourself and that plane had fifteen or sixteen of them, one for the pilot and one for every passenger. Safety is very much a priority.”

Reporter

“Has the airplane been removed from the sea? We understand that it has so would you?”

John Grief III – President of Tropic Air

“Yes, it has it’s onshore now. I believe in Big Creek.”

Reporter

“And like you said it’s a total loss?”

John Grief III – President of Tropic Air

Yes, total loss.

Reporter

“Can you say at this time what in terms of money that loss is?”

John Grief III – President of Tropic Air

“Its well over $2 million dollars.”

Reporter

“Does this now affect the airline scheduling or not?”

John Grief III – President of Tropic Air

“No, it doesn’t. We have 15 aircraft so we have a little wiggle room with the fleet but we had been contemplating buying a twelfth caravan for the season and after the loss of this one we decided to go ahead and do it so we are actually purchasing an aircraft this week.”

Police and the Department of Civil Aviation continue to investigate.

LOVEFM



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