Categorized | National News

Search For Crash Victims Ends

Search and recovery efforts have been called off for a pilot and his passenger who crashed after taking off from the Marsh Harbour International Airport Monday morning.

Bahamas Air Sea and Rescue (BASRA) officials believe that bad weather played a role in the crash.

BASRA Operations Manager Chris Lloyd has identified the pilot as Al Van.

The identity of Van’s passenger has not yet been released.

In the aftermath of the accident, Van’s close friends expressed shock and disappointment that he decided to take flight with inclement weather approaching.

The single engine Beechcraft-36 plane departed Abaco en route for Daytona Beach, Florida.

BASRA officials confirmed that search and rescue efforts began immediately.

“Information we have received from the U.S. Coast Guard indicates that radars had indicated severe weather and the aircraft was reporting severe turbulence. It is believed that they may have been trying to fly around the bad weather. The U.S. Coast Guard shortly after lost communications with the aircraft. There was one final piece of data emitted from the aircraft giving a slightly different position than the original one, and then communications were lost for good,” he said.

Mr. Lloyd explained that the last data transmitted from the aircraft before it disappeared off of the radar placed it over waters just off the coast of the Berry Islands.

“The latitude and longitude coordinates placed it approximately just over five miles northeast of Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands over the ocean,” Mr. Lloyd said.

Once the U.S. Coast Guard locked in the last known coordinates for the aircraft, BASRA and Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) teams were notified.

Mr. Lloyd said attempts were made to begin search and rescue efforts immediately, however, inclement weather made those attempts impossible.

“Very severe weather over the Berry Islands and the southern Abacos hampered any private of BASRA search aircrafts from responding. But, once the weather subsided the U.S. Coast Guard managed to dispatch a helicopter. Once it got in the vicinity of the last reported location they quickly found an oil slick and an inflated life raft, but no persons were inside of it and there was no sign of any survivors,” he said.

It was at this point that air traffic controllers and BASRA began “call-outs” throughout all of the islands near where the plane could have been.

Mr. Lloyd said this was done to confirm that the pilot had not landed the plane on one of the small runways on a surrounding island.

Search and recovery efforts for Van and his passenger were called off Tuesday night.

Mr. Lloyd told the Bahama Journal that boats at the scene of the accident will compile all debris in the area so that an investigation into the cause of the accident can be determined.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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