FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – Four people believed to be Americans on a sightseeing expedition were killed after the small plane they were in on Sunday crashed into a marsh not long after take-off.
Two men and two women were onboard the
single-engine Cirrus 22 plane when it left the Grand Bahama International Airport on a tour of the island, authorities said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Emrick Seymour said the plane experienced “some engine problems”
and went down about four miles west of the airport around 11 a.m.
The four, whose identities were withheld pending notification of next of kin, were discovered in the mangled crash, authorities said.
The Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association assisted
in the recovery effort.
The bodies of the victims were brought in to a designated spot in Queen’s Cove via the Hawksbill Creek where emergency personnel, including a pathologist and coroner, morticians and police were awaiting their arrival.
“Our initial investigation suggests that there may have been another sightseeing tour put on by the aircraft earlier today which was successful,” Seymour said.
The aircraft was a foreign-registered one and the group may have already been on the island for about a week, according to officials.
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe and Minister for Grand Bahama Michael Darville observed as the victims’ bodies were brought in by boat.
The victims were reportedly part of a group whose members had initially toured Abaco.
“The police said that they had done an earlier tour and this would have been the second one. It’s unfortunate,” Wilchcombe said of the crash, while
noting that it is a terrible way for the group’s visit
to the country to end.
He said Ministry of Tourism representatives
and those from other agencies were with the victims’ family and friends still on the island to provide comfort and support.
“Our prayers are with them,” he said. “Now the investigation takes place and we’ll wait for the findings
of the investigation.”
Darville pointed out that those responsible for the recovery process were immediately in place.
“It is really a sad day in Grand Bahama. Any time we hear of a tragedy of this nature it all really puts shock in everybody,” he said.
He expressed condolences to the families of the victims on behalf of the government and the country.
“We are very concerned about things like this and I’m certain, with the Royal Bahamas Police Force, our authority at the airport, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, as well as our partners in the United States, a full investigation will be conducted and the outcome will be [made] public,” Darville said.
“It’s difficult to determine exactly what happened
out there, but from some of the representatives
from BASRA it was a massive impact and, as a result,
a tragedy for the pilot, as well as the passengers onboard the aircraft.” (Nassau Guardian)