Picture another beautiful day in Belize, you are out on your boat, cruising along full bore, when all of a sudden you hit a coral head and break a propeller blade off your motor, instant chaos. Well something along that same line happened to pilot Dan Creech as he was piloting his Cessna 206 on March 9th on his way to Philip Goldson International Airport en route to Guatemala. Mr. Creech, who was formerly stationed in Belize for two and a half years with Wings of Hope was again in Belize offering his services for two days while local representativesTerry and Kate Lewis were out of the country inspecting an area that had requested their services. Mechanical failure was the cause of the accident when a propeller blade broke off as Mr. Creech was flying alone, at a altitude of 1,500 feet Above Ground Level. Quick thinking and a cool head turned what could have been a tragedy into something to tell the grandkids about. A skilled pilot with over 5years and 5,000 hours of commercial pilot time under his belt, Mr. Creech was able to "land" the plane in the water at the northern end of Hick's Caye, five miles west of Caye Caulker without injury to himself and minimal damage to the aircraft. Searching the National Transportation and Safety Board's database as far back as 1983 on the Internet has shown no occurrence like this happening to an Aircraft of this type. Wings of Hope is an organization that has dedicated, highly trained professional personnel, with many hours of flight time.
Wings of Hope has been in Belize for the last 15 years, and has been operating as of late without a contract. They have recently notified the Ministry of Health that they are out of funds and have to shut down operations in Belize, hopefully on a temporary basis. The goal of Wings of Hope is to provide safe air transportation at or below operating cost for those in need.
The plane which was involved in the accident is normally stationed in Guatemala. It was towed by volunteers from its watery resting place to the San Pedro airport. With much assistance from local volunteers, and the continuous support of Tropic Air, it will be undergoing refurbishing for the next few months, then flown to St. Louis, U.S.A. for a complete overhaul. In the interim, the plane that is currently stationed in Belize will be relocated to Guatemala where it will be highly utilized. Wings of Hope has an aircraft that is being refitted for use in Belize at a hangar in St. Louis. The organization hopes it will be brought down here to replace the outgoing aircraft if an agreement can be reached with the Government of Belize.
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