Categorized | National News

Search Still On For Crash Survivors, Coast Guard

It turns out that the Bahamas Air Sea and Rescue Association (BASRA) made a huge blunder Tuesday when it reported that search efforts for two possible survivors of a plane crash had been called off.

On Wednesday, the US Coast Guard said contrary to information disseminated by BASRA Operations Manager Chris Lloyd, search teams continue to race against the clock to locate the pilot and passenger of a Beechcraft Bonanza BE36, which crashed in waters off the Berry Islands on Monday.

On Tuesday Mr. Lloyd told the Bahama Journal, “the crash was in the ocean, so I would say today it will be called off.”

Mr. Lloyd noted that search and rescue efforts quickly changed to search and recovery mode, therefore search teams would be searching for bodies as opposed to survivors.

“[There’s] no sign of survivors. You’re not looking for bodies really either because they would tend to sink and in the ocean the currents would tend to take them away and you have no idea where they will surface later,” Mr. Lloyd said.

US Coast Guard Petty Officer John-Paul Rios told the Bahama Journal Wednesday morning that Mr. Lloyd disseminated inaccurate information.

“As far as I know we have no time periods for our search efforts. It all depends on what we find at the scene and at this time we are still actively searching,” he said.

“We’ve been searching all through Tuesday night and we have been searching all [Wednesday] morning as well. We had our Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin on scene along with an M860 rescue helicopter which arrived at noon today [Wednesday]. We have also been told that Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) would be providing a surface asset as well,” Mr. Rios said.

Mr. Rios also shot down Mr. Lloyd’s statements that bad weather hampered initial search and rescue efforts.

“I was told that the weather conditions were actually pretty favourable at first. I am not sure if they got worse on Tuesday, but I know in the beginning of the search everything was okay,” he said.

At this point, the only things which have been recovered at the crash site have been debris and an empty inflated life raft.

“Right now all we have found is debris, so until we find something that we determine that there is no point in searching, we will continue to search,” Mr. Rios said.

The pilot and his passenger have been identified as Alan and Kathleen Van Nimwegen.

Both are licenced pilots who live at the Spruce Creek Fly-In community in Port Orange.

According to reports, the couple left Marsh Harbour, Abaco Monday morning en route for Daytona, Florida.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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