Seven passengers who were on board a plane that crashed here Friday all escaped unhurt and were rescued from the sea. They include Patrick Faber, currently acting as Prime Minister, and Minister of Agriculture, Godwin Hulse.
An investigation has been launched into the plane crash at the Placencia municipal airstrip, to determine who was at fault for the incident.
There have been varied reports over whether one of the barriers at both ends of the runway was lowered to prevent the accident from happening.
Normally, both barriers are lowered whenever planes touch down or take off to prevent vehicular traffic from passing in front of the runway during those times.
A witness reported that on that particular day, only one of the barriers was lowered, however, the Northern barrier was not lowered, resulting in the free flow of vehicular traffic in front of the departing aircraft.
In its press release, Tropic Air stated that the Belize Airports Authority (BBA) and the Belize Department of Civil Aviation are conducting an investigation to determine how the vehicle passed in front of the departing aircraft as the BAA had placed both barriers and signage in place to prevent such occurrence.
Tropic Air’s president John Greif also stated that he had gotten mix reports that only one of the barriers went down that day. He said he was later informed that both of the barriers were functional at the time of the incident.
The investigation is also reportedly looking into whether the plane was overloaded.
Experienced personnel say that overloaded planes pose a great risk for passengers as it results in low and slow lift-off.
The Tropic Air release said that the aircraft had clipped the vehicle which had crossed the end of the runway as it was taking off, resulting in the subsequent loss of airspeed, and the crash-landing.