Brac air crash investigation continues

Authorities continued their search of the area of Sunday night’s fatal plane crash in Cayman Brac from daybreak on Tuesday trying to find debris or contents from the aircraft.

They searched the rugged bush on the Bluff where the single-engine Cessna 210 crashed around 11pm on Sunday, 14 November, killing the pilot and one passenger.

Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officers are trying to determine what the plane, which had not filed an official flight plan, was doing on Cayman Brac.

“No drugs were found. We cannot speculate at this time as to why the plane was in our jurisdiction,” said Police Superintendent Kurt Walton. “However, a full investigation is underway looking into all the circumstances.

“The RCIPS is engaged in scene preservation and officers commenced a full search of the area, supported by customs colleagues, at 6am [Tuesday] morning,” he said.

Two men, one from Mexico and the other from Colombia, were killed when the light aircraft crashed after hitting two electricity poles, while possibly attempting to land on the paved Booby Bird Drive in the Bluff Edge Estates on the Bluff.

Residents on the eastern end of the Brac said they heard the plane circling late Sunday before it came down.

Police said they were in the process of determining the next of kin before releasing the names of the two men who died in the crash. Investigators from the United Kingdom’s Air Accident Investigation Branch are due to arrive on the Brac on Wednesday morning to take over the crash site investigation.

The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch is part of the Department for Transport and is responsible for investigating civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents within the UK and its territories.

Jeremy Jackson, CEO of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, said the team from Britain was due to arrive in Cayman on Tuesday. Police said the team would then fly to Cayman Brac the following morning to begin their investigation.

Until the team from the UK take over, the Cayman Islands Airports Authority had no further comment to make on the incident, Mr. Jackson said.

A spokesman for the UK’s Department for Transport said: “The pair of inspectors will begin their investigation as soon as they arrive. As far as how long they will take or how long they will be there, it depends on the investigation.”

On Monday, police confirmed they did not know where the plane, which had Mexican markings, had begun its ill-fated flight.

Upon searching the crash site Monday, police found 10, 60-litre fuel containers, some of which still had fuel in them.

Glenn Robertson, who lives in the one house that has been built in the Bluff Edge Estates subdivision, said police and fire search crews at the crash site had recovered the pilot’s body from inside the aircraft and found the second man’s body near plane a short while later.

“The front of the plane is demolished, but the back of it is intact still,” said Mr. Robertson, whose home is about quarter of a mile from the crash site. “The debris is all quite close by in the bushes. It’s all pretty contained in one place,” he said.

Jonathan Tibbetts, general manager of Cayman Brac Power and Light, said two of the company’s power poles had been struck by the plane.

“One pole was essentially cut in half, about 15 feet is missing from the top of it and it’s badly splintered. With the other one, it seems maybe the wing hit the front pole and took a chunk out of it and then the second one was shattered,” he said, adding, “It would have had to take a serious impact to do that.”

He said the right wing of the plane was ripped off and was found about 100 feet from the main body of the aircraft.

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1 COMMENT

  1. First, Local authorities should not have touched anything on the aircraft. Including the bodies!. Most Aviation Authorities know that if anything is disturbed, the chance of reaching a conclusion to the accident diminishes. Gas Tanks, records, and any materials on board can play a vital role in determining an accident’s outcome. Weight, Balance, GPS Data, can all add to conclusions of an accident. No one is to ever touch any of an aircraft’s cargo, occupants, or equipment.

    Second, by a preliminary look at Google Earth, It appears that the aircraft was making a published, and legal missed approach. A typical maneuver in the event the airport, runway, or it’s surroundings can not be seen while attempting an approach. The Approach to the Brac will allow an aircraft let down to around 400 ft. It the airport can not be found, then, the aircraft is directed by a chart to go back to the original approach which is about where the crash site was located. Then, the pilot may conduct another attempt to land. However, often times, the pilot will let down too low, deviating from the prescribed published procedure, in hopes of seeing something familiar. This is often fatal.

    In the case of the extra fuel tanks, this is often seen on Drug Running Aircraft, to allow return to origin without having to land. However, law abiding citizens do use extra tanks, but rarely due to the legal paperwork required to carry the extra fuel. It is possible the aircraft was being ferried to a country beyond Cayman, requiing extra fuel, and had trouble over the Island, and needed to land.

    Interestingly, with extra fuel on crashed aircraft, there is usually a post fire event. There doesn’t appear to be any fire involved with the accident. Commonly, no post fire is usually a tale of fuel exhaustion.

    Only the investigators will come to this conclusion.

    Just a thought ….

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