A risky search and rescue mission, involving members of the Jamaica Defence Force air wing, the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Caribbean Aviation Centre, ended Sunday with the successful location of two men whose plane went down in Portland Friday afternoon.
A JDF helicopter flew the men to the University Hospital of the West Indies about noon yesterday, where they were met by hospital staff who hurriedly transported them on stretchers to the Accident and Emergency Department.
According to police reports, about 5:30 p.m. Friday, a single-engine Cessna-light aircraft registered N-116-Q with two persons aboard – the pilot and a passenger – went down in the Hope Bay/Swift River area of the parish.
The police said that, about 10 p.m. Friday, they received a report that the plane, which was en route from the Ken Jones aerodrome in Portland to Tinson Pen in Kingston, was involved in an accident.
Spokesperson for the JDF, Major Charlene Steer, said the men were found about 1,500 metres from the site where the wreckage of their aircraft was found on Saturday evening.
She said the plane was located some 5,800 feet atop the Blue Mountain by the commanding officer of the JDF’s air wing, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Roper, and his team.
Specially trained soldiers were lowered by rope into the area from an aircraft, as the men were precariously positioned on a steep edge of the Blue Mountain. They were then hoisted by rope into the JDF rescue aircraft and transported to hospital.
Speaking with The Gleaner from the UHWI, Lisa Watson, wife of the single passenger on the plane, Christopher Watson, said she was both relieved and happy that her husband had been found alive.
She said he was conscious but had apparently suffered injuries to his lower limbs.
“He has a few bruises and cuts and there’s something wrong with his foot. I don’t know yet if it’s broken,” she said. Watson said the pilot, Gavin Colley, was also doing well.
She said other members of the family had also gathered at the hospital and were praying for the full recovery of both men.