Fire truck from Little Cayman to be shipped to Brac

Cause of accident still under investigation

Cayman Brac’s airport reopened Friday only to small aircraft after a fire truck flipped over on the runway during a speed test on Thursday morning. The airport remains closed to jets.

An aerodrome certified fire truck from Little Cayman will be shipped to Cayman Brac as a temporary replacement for the truck that flipped on the runway last week.

The switch will allow the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport to reopen to larger jet traffic. Jets have been unable to land since the accident last Thursday.

A smaller fire truck, not suitable for air support on the Brac but equipped to do the job at the much smaller airport in Little Cayman, will go in the opposite direction.

Officials were unclear when the switch would take place, since high winds and rough seas are currently preventing the cargo ship from traveling between the two islands.

Cayman Airways weekend jet services through the Brac have been suspended until the switch takes place.

“They are trying to find a weather window to get it over on the boat,” a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs told the Cayman Compass.

The two injured firefighters, Acting Leading Fire Officer on the Brac Jason McCoy and Acting Divisional Officer Garfield Ritch, have been discharged from hospital. Mr. McCoy was behind the wheel of the truck when it flipped over during a mandatory speed test last Thursday.

The fire service has given no details on the suspected cause of the accident, saying only that it is under investigation.

Chief Fire Officer David Hails visited the Brac on Wednesday with two senior fire officers to make his own assessment of the vehicle.

The airport was closed briefly on Thursday afternoon in the immediate aftermath of the accident. The damage to the truck left the airport short of fire and rescue capability.

According to air safety regulations, at least two aerodrome certified fire trucks are required to be on standby before a 737 jet can land.

The truck being transferred from Little Cayman has already met regulatory requirements, including a speed test, according to the spokeswoman.

“It has already been certified so jet operations can begin as soon as it arrives on Cayman Brac,” she said.

Cayman Airways has again been forced to cancel flights and reshuffle its schedule for the weekend due to the situation on the Brac.

Scheduled flights to Miami and Cuba from the Brac were being diverted through Grand Cayman, with some passengers re-booked on the Saab and Twin Otter planes between Grand Cayman and the Brac.

The damaged truck has been moved to a compound on the Brac. Its roof was crumpled and its side sheared off in the accident. Officials were unsure whether it was a write-off.

There are no regularly scheduled jet flights Monday through Thursday in or out of the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport.

There are a total of eight flights scheduled in and out of the airport on weekends.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. It seems likely that the damaged truck will be written off. When this saga is eventually over the public needs to be informed of the total cost of this incident to include the replacement truck, shipping costs, airfares for all the visiting “experts”, the additional expenses involved in rescheduling so many flights and so on. Government needs to realise it must be accountable to the taxpayer.

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  2. I fully agree Roger , and the diciplinary action that should result from these big expenses to the Taxpayers.
    On this issue, I wonder what is the criteria for one to be a driver/ opperator of a fire truck in Cayman Islands .
    I talked to a qualified fire truck driver here in the USA , he said that here you have to be on the job for 7 years . and 2 years practice experience of driving on a private driving course before you can get your license to drive a fire truck or fire engine .

    I fully agree that Government needs to be held fully accountable for these kinds of expenses to the Taxpayers like in this case.

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