Four escape plane crash
A family of three and an unidentified male passenger survived a plane crash yesterday after the pilot was forced to ditch the small plane in the mangroves, just off the Grand Bahama Highway.
The 45-year-old pilot, Raymond Meadows, Sr., his wife, their 10-year-old and the other male had reportedly just taken off from the Grand Bahama Airport en route to Eleuthera when the twin engine Piper Aztec aircraft encountered mechanical problems.
Meadows, the owner and operator of Flamingo Air, made the decision to crash land the plane in the mangroves, to the east of Freeport Aggregates, reports say.
Police received the call about the crash around 1:35 p.m. and emergency rescue teams, including the Fire Department and ambulance personnel responded.
The Royal Bahamas Defense Force was also called in to lend assistance.
When news crews arrived at the Freeport Aggregates site, they were denied access and kept at bay.
However, the media gained access to the mangroves through an unpaved access road where work crews from Freeport Construction and police officers were observing, though still a great distance from the crash site.
The four crash victims were still at the crash site and, while it was difficult to make out the goings on, it was clear that there was movement at least above the plane in waters said to be about knee high.
The mother and daughter were assisted from the crash site first via a canoe and transported to land just after 4:00 p.m. where they walked over to the waiting ambulance unassisted and taken to the hospital for observation.
The entire ordeal proved a tedious process for rescue officials and the crash victims as they raced against the tide which turned low at one point and forced officials to maneuver to another area to gain higher tide.
As the canoe had limited space, retrieving the passengers proved time consuming as rescue personnel had to use paddle and row back and forth to the site which was a little less than a mile away.
Around 7:00 p.m., Meadows and his male passenger were safely brought on to land and also transported to the hospital.
All four reportedly had no visible signs of injury.
Meadows was reportedly on his way to Eleuthera just hours after learning of the passing of his father there.
The matter is under investigation.
© 2012 The Freeport News