Categorized | National News

New Details In Mayaguana Tragedy Emerge

The coordination of the vehicles along the side of the runway at the Mayaguana Airport may have been a big factor in last Thursday’s collision that resulted in three people being killed, the chief investigator of the incident told the Bahama Journal Monday.

Delvin Major from the Civil Aviation Department is heading the investigation into the incident that occurred shortly after 1:00 a.m. Thursday.

An emergency air craft attempting to land collided with one of the vehicles being used to illuminate the runway.

The three occupants of that vehicle were all killed in the crash.

Mr. Major said the preliminary investigation has been completed and handed over to Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin.

Initially it was thought that the pilot of the aircraft may have been temporarily blinded because of the lack of lighting at the airport.

However, Mr. Major said it now appears as though the placement of the vehicles along the side of the runway strip may have played a more prominent role in the incident.

“The vehicles were park way too close to the side of the runway,” he said.

“They were pretty much in an area that we would consider a part of the active runway and they were pretty much in the area of the active runway where they were too close.

“The focus of our investigation is why they were there and who put them there. It could’ve been better coordinated but even with the best planning things can still go wrong and right now we are looking at what went wrong.”

This incident has sparked concern about the safety of airports across the country where it is common practice to use civilians’ vehicles to light runway. Minister Hanna-Martin said in the aftermath of this tragedy that the Christie administration will work swiftly to ensure that all airports across the country are outfitted with emergency capacity.

Mrs. Hanna-Martin announced over the weekend that the government has taken immediate steps to have solar lights installed at the Mayaguana airport but noted the process will take several weeks since those lights will have to be specially built.

Mr. Major said while the practice of using vehicles to illuminate runways is not endorsed, until the proper infrastructure is put in place at Family Island airports, there really is no other way for aircraft to land at night.

“It’s a process that was never approved because it doesn’t happen very often but when it happens the goal is to try and assist and to get the people out that are sick and that is the reason I assume it has been going on for such a long time,” Mr. Major said.

Meanwhile the final report on the crash is due in a few weeks.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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