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Tropic Air Flight 3073 a Total Loss

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Last Friday Tropic Air flight 3073 was forced to land in the sea after the wheel clipped the top of a SUV that was on the road at the Placencia Airstrip. The flight was departing from the airstrip at approximately 8:55 in the morning en route to Punta Gorda. The Cessna Caravan aircraft came into contact with the vehicle and the pilot was forced to conduct an emergency landing on sea not far from the airstrip. Nine passengers and two crew members exited with assistance from locals and the crew members of Tropic Air. They were all treated for minor injuries. The Civil Aviation team is still on the ground conducting their investigation and  Gilberto Torres deputy director of the Department says they still cannot say what went wrong with the barriers.

Gilberto Torres – Deputy Director

“There are operational procedures at the Placencia airstrip with regards to the use of the road barriers, sleeping policemen, signage and of course the implementation of these procedures so that aircraft can land and depart safely. At this point in time, we are unable to determine that as the investigation continues. The Belize Airport Authority has conducted certain surveillance and has ensured that the implementation of all operational aspects are in place. There are other operational procedures in place and the Department of Civil Aviation has indeed come stronger now with additional corrective measures if there would need to be and that is in place.”

The plane was removed from the sea and according to President of Tropic Air John Grief III, the company sustained a total loss but it has not affected their scheduling.

John Grief III – President of Tropic Air

“As you probably know or most Belizeans know the airplane that we fly have only got a pilot and sometimes a copilot so there’s no cabin crew to help anybody put on life jackets so we have what we call self-donning life jackets, in other words, lifejackets that you put on yourself and that plane had fifteen or sixteen of them, one for the pilot and one for every passenger. Safety is very much a priority.”

Reporter

“Has the airplane been removed from the sea? We understand that it has so would you?”

John Grief III – President of Tropic Air

“Yes, it has it’s onshore now. I believe in Big Creek.”

Reporter

“And like you said it’s a total loss?”

John Grief III – President of Tropic Air

Yes, total loss.

Reporter

“Can you say at this time what in terms of money that loss is?”

John Grief III – President of Tropic Air

“Its well over $2 million dollars.”

Reporter

“Does this now affect the airline scheduling or not?”

John Grief III – President of Tropic Air

“No, it doesn’t. We have 15 aircraft so we have a little wiggle room with the fleet but we had been contemplating buying a twelfth caravan for the season and after the loss of this one  we decided to go ahead and do it so we are actually purchasing an aircraft this week.”

Police and the Department of Civil Aviation continue to investigate.

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