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Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds

Posted By: Marty

Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/22/05 03:49 AM

3:18 p.m. November 21, 2005

BELIZE CITY – Relatives confirmed the identities on Monday of two U.S. citizens who died in a small plane crash in Belize in which bad weather caused by Tropical Storm Gamma was thought to have played a role.

The Friday crash killed the Belizean pilot, Rene Ram, and two passengers aboard a private plane belonging to Blancaneaux Lodge, an exclusive jungle resort owned by U.S. filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.

The Americans were identified as newlyweds Douglas Scratchley Jr. and Christy Dy Scratchley of St. Petersburg, Florida, according to the man's father, Douglas Scratchley Sr. of Fort Meyers, Florida. U.S. officials in Belize confirmed those identifications.

"They were on their honeymoon," the elder Scratchley said by telephone. "They had planned this whole trip and whatever the resort they were going to was having a big party for them Friday evening."

"They got on a small plane," he said. "I got a phone call Friday night that the plane had gone down. They called Saturday afternoon and confirmed that ... they didn't have any survivors."

The couple's bodies were transferred to Belize City, the nation's capital.

The aircraft disappeared Friday, last making radio contact with air controllers 10 minutes into its 35-minute flight to the Blancaneaux Lodge near the western border with Guatemala.

Civil aviation authorities were trying to determine the cause of the crash – which saw the plane fall into a ravine near another exclusive ranch – but said heavy winds and rains from Gamma were a factor.

Gamma, the 24th named storm of an already record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season, weakened into a tropical depression off the coast of Honduras after killing 11 people in this country and three in nearby Belize.
Posted By: casa de amor

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/22/05 03:53 AM

so very sad,RIP
Posted By: Marty

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/22/05 03:57 AM

//ambergriscaye.com/message/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/8/t/000439.html#000000

miss you too Chino
Posted By: Marty

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/22/05 09:43 AM

Wreckage of plane found – pilot, couple killed
It was like a scene from a tragic movie: two people on their honeymoon when their plane crashes into a mountainside killing them and their pilot. The search immediately began but bad weather and jungle coverage hampered efforts to recover the aircraft and the bodies. But this sad story is not from a movie and we cannot rewrite the terrible ending. All we can do now is try to find out exactly what happened to a private plane that crashed into a mountain on Friday, killing a Belizean man and two guests to our country. Karla Heusner was at the Philip Goldson International Airport this morning for a press briefing on the official investigation.

Karla Heusner, Reporting
Belizean Rene Tam, pilot of the twin engine Islander belonging to Blancaneaux Lodge picked up Doug and Cristy Scratchley at the P.G.I.A. on Saturday morning. They had just come in from Ambergris Caye where they spent a few days at Victoria House. The happy young couple was on their honeymoon, married only a few days ago in St. Petersburg, Florida.

According to Civil Aviation authorities, the first part of their thirty-five minute journey to the Privacion airstrip near Blancaneaux was uneventful. Tam’s last radio contact was made at 10:16 a.m. near La Democracia. According to authorities who heard the tape, it was a routine position report made on the common frequency used by all pilots as they leave the air traffic control space around the P.G.I.A. Around 12:50 p.m., a report came into the control tower that the plane never arrived at its destination. Despite the increasing bad weather from Gamma, a search was immediately launched. On Saturday afternoon the wreck was located, just three miles from Blancaneaux on the property of Hidden Valley Falls Inn by a volunteer search party from the inn. Today details of the crash are still sketchy.

Jose Contreras, Director Civil Aviation
”The exact time when it went down we cannot determine. We understand that they heard the aircraft circling very low over Unitedville and also the persons that worked in the area of the resort also heard the aircraft flying very low.”

Francis Lizama, Flight Operations Manager
”The general area we are talking about is very hilly. We are fifteen feet above sea level here at the airport. The elevation at that point would be between fifteen and two thousand feet elevation. So the terrain is very high and it’s not the normal type of terrain you would fly flying at flat elevations.”

And While Director Contreras says the Civil Aviation Authority can put limits on arrivals and departures from the international airport, the rest of the trip is outside their control.

Jose Contreras
”The pilot looking at the weather conditions, it will be his decision to fly into that condition. We will regulate the—when we say regulate, we will put limitations toward departure and arrival of aircraft at the Philip Goldson International Airport because that’s a controlled air ground. The weather, a destination en route, or alternate air grounds is the responsibility of the pilot to make sure that the weather at that destination is suitable so that an aircraft can make a safe landing.”

“The small craft warning is not applicable to aircraft... The visibility at this airport was more than ten kilometres. The visibility at the destination airport, we cannot say.”

According to Francis Lizama who heads Flight Operations, pilots often have to make difficult choices when faced with adverse conditions.

Francis Lizama
”Sometimes in those conditions, visibility is very, very poor. You sometimes lose land mass, land area, and most of the time pilots who penetrate the area get into that location or simply return back to their normal base that they came from.”

Civil Aviation authorities say their investigation could take weeks, if not months to complete. All aspects will be examined, from weather conditions to mechanical difficulties to possible pilot error. Karla Heusner reporting for News Five.

Director Contreras says Tam had over nine thousand hours flying experience and obtained his license from the Federal Aviation Authority in the U.S. in 1991. Up until six months ago he was chief pilot for Maya Island Air before taking up the job at Blancaneaux Lodge. He leaves behind his wife, Jackie, and four children. An autopsy was performed on the bodies of Doug and Christy Scratchley this afternoon which showed that Christy died instantly of multiple injuries. Her husband Doug, however, did not display any major internal injuries and instead bled to death from a deep laceration in his right leg. Both were seated in the rear of the plane. Doug's step-father David May told News Five the couple had a beautiful wedding and were enjoying their stay in Belize very much. He says he and his wife may come to Belize in a few months, when they feel up to it, to lay a wreath at the crash site.
Posted By: tweedybear

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/29/05 05:06 PM

It's a good thing my hubby doesn't read the forums for if he saw this - it would be "austa la vista baby as Roberto Tombo said at the Olympics one year, a famous skiier - translation meaning no way jose would I get on those small planes. He's redoing our trust - doesn't trust these small planes. What a tragedy for the newly weds. I feel for their families.
Posted By: Kristykins

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/29/05 09:40 PM

i shouldn't have read this 4 days before hopping on planes.

i'm already mortified.


I just cannot even fathom...those poor people.
horrible, horrible trajedy. frown frown frown
Posted By: gogo

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/29/05 09:51 PM

you are more likely to die in a car crash, at home or in another country.

do what you have to do.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/29/05 09:52 PM

When you consider the thousands of miles flown in this country every year and hundreds of flights every month, Belize has a fantastic record when it comes to flight safety. I wouldn't miss the opportunity to be up in the air here, it's the only way to fly (so to speak.)
Posted By: Kristykins

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/29/05 09:58 PM

i know i know. everyone always says the same thing, but you know...I'd much rather go in a car crash then nosedive into the earth at a high rate of speed.

but hey, that's just me wink

I guess when all is said and done you have no control anyway, but I havn't flown in years, and I'm definetly a little nervous. [okay terrified, but whatever]
Posted By: Kristykins

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/29/05 09:58 PM

and on that note..are the little Maya Air flights from the airport to SP safe little things?
Posted By: klcman

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 12:40 AM

Simon - jump in here, but am I not correct, the plane type we are referring to here are smaller (like 9/10 passenger craft?) - so quite smaller than Maya or Tropics Caravans?

Kristy - they be as safe as safe can be.
Posted By: spl

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 01:42 AM

yes, even smaller than maya and tropics caravans.
Posted By: casa de amor

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 03:55 AM

Simon is right, they fly thousands of flights a year, and they have a pretty excellent record for plane crashes.Most people dont realize that when a plane loses its engine power it then turns into a glider it just doesnt fall straight down from the sky. I belive it is the safest way to travel given the right circumstances, and conditions. The caravans can hold 10-12 people, and the flight to AC is like no other on EARTH!
Posted By: seashell

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 04:32 AM

I was scared witless on my first flight. And my gang had one heck of time getting me on the return flight. Since then, I can't wait. The puddlejumper flight from BC is one of the highlights of the trip, as a rule.

One of my favorite things now is landing at the Municipal.
Posted By: casa de amor

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 05:40 AM

i like taking off from the municipal its quite an experience (if you know what i mean).
Posted By: seashell

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 06:23 AM

I do, indeed, know what you mean. smile But I still get a bigger rush out of landing there.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 01:43 PM

klcman, the Islander seats 10 and the Caravan seats 14. Tropic also has 172’s, which seat 4 (my favourite) and 207’s, which seat 6 (pulled the doors off one and shot aerial pictures of Lamanai for an hour once, what an experience.) I'd only been in a small plane once before I arrived here and they became one of my primary means of transportation for my first couple of years. Flying in this country is a joy and the scenery is incredible.
Posted By: Kristykins

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 02:42 PM

I've heard the flight to AC is gorgeous, flying over the water etc.

Well, here's to puttin fears aside & just goin for it. Gotta live life smile

[Linked Image]
Posted By: casa de amor

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 03:20 PM

"Kristykins" you only get one life to live so make the best of it.
Posted By: Sir Isaac Newton

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 03:46 PM

Book a 207 for a flight over the blue hole, turneffe, maya mountains and Xuanatunich.....you will never experience anything like it again!
Posted By: Richard Chambers

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 03:50 PM

Simon is right, you haven't really experienced Belize until you have flown is the "puddle jumpers".
My first experience was in 2000 in a small 6 passenger twin engine high wing Britten Norman (sp?), my first trip to the island.That was when i decided that i needed to fly the country end to end
out of both airports. I'll always cherish those experiences.
However you need to do the CC water taxi at least once to experience the more common mode of travel to the islands.
Now that's some justification for additional trips!!

laugh
Posted By: WhiteWater

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 07:01 PM

kirstykins, for what it's worth I have a friend who just took the island hopper over. She thought she'd be terrified, because she's afraid of heights and doesn't like flying. She ended up sitting next to the pilot in the 4-seater, and actually enjoyed it. The good news is, if it does bother you, it's a very short flight.
Posted By: Kristykins

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 07:07 PM

I'm sure the anticipation is much worse than the actual flight itself. I've taken puddle jumpers before up in Canada, but I was little & I loved flying then. Perhaps its just been too long since I've flown [about 13 years] and those unfounded adult fears have had time to settle in wink
Posted By: ckocian

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 07:58 PM

Taking a small commercial flight in Belize resembles taking a bus on the ground. It's part of glue that binds the remotest (and not so remote) parts of the country together with the rest.
Posted By: Tagenrog

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 11/30/05 08:15 PM

Maya's and Tropic's Cessna Caravans aren't bush league airplanes. They cost about $1m each and have state-of-the art avionics, communications, back-up, etc. They are very expertly flown and maintained at international standards. I don't feel any less safe in them than I do in a 747 plus the view is better.
Posted By: lacysbeach

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 12/06/05 09:31 AM

God Bless Rene, Christi, & Doug!!You all entered God's land and We bless you!!Peace forever!!
Posted By: lacysbeach

Re: Two U.S. victims of Belize plane crash identified as Florida newlyweds - 12/06/05 09:55 AM

I am so much crying over this!! God help Us All!!
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