Categorized | National News

Mayaguana Airport Closed To Certain Aircraft

A week after three people were killed during a runway collision, the Mayaguana airports has been closed to certain aircraft, Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin announced Wednesday as she presented the preliminary report into that tragedy in the House of Assembly.

“The Department of Civil Aviation has closed the Mayaguana Airport to all scheduled commercial carriers and aircraft over 6,000 pounds,” Mrs. Hanna-Martin said.

“Aircraft in short fields takeoff and landing configuration or stole aircraft may operate with caution as repair work continues at the airport.

“All night fixed wing flights are suspended and the Department of Civil Aviation will allow emergency helicopter flights only.”

The accident that occurred last Thursday killed three people as they were sitting in a vehicle that was assisting with lighting the runway for the plane to land.

Mrs. Hanna-Martin revealed that two vehicles were placed at the beginning of the runway, one on either side of the runway to assist with outlining the useable length and width of the available runway.

She noted that the vehicles were parked too close to the strip which resulted in the collision as the aircraft landed.

“When the aircraft hit the first vehicle, this resulted in approximately three feet of the aircraft’s right wing tip breaking off in the rear windshield exposing fuel lines. The impact of the entire right wing of the aircraft ruptured the right wing fuel tank causing an explosion,” Mrs. Hanna-Martin said.

“Reports indicate the second vehicle’s engine was still running which may have initiated and assisted the spread of the fire.”

The transport minister said the aircraft struck the second vehicle and dragged it 20 feet before the right wing broke off rupturing the fuel tank and creating a fireball that eventually consumed the vehicle and killed its three occupants.

Edith Collie, Enamae Polowick and Tim Polowick were killed in the explosion.

Mrs. Hanna-Martin said that the though the practice of illuminating runways with vehicle lights has been in existence for years, as a policy, the Christie administration worked to end it during its first term in office.
She said that efforts towards the installation of emergency lights at the Mayaguana airport are underway and she added that the government will complete the installation of emergency lights in all remaining public airports in the country.

“This has been a terrible and painful event resulting in the loss of life of beloved members of the Mayaguana community and indeed the Bahamian community,” Minister Hanna-Martin said.

“I suspect that little consolation may be found at this time for the loved ones but important lessons are rising to the fore, chief of which is that we cannot for whatever reason and so far as possible permit something like this to happen again in our country.”

Mrs. Hanna-Martin said the incident has prompted the Department of Civil Aviation to engage in a comprehensive review of critical indicators in the country’s airport system.

A final report on the collision is expected in a few weeks.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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