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Pilot presented with medal by local organization

Pilot presented with medal by local organization


The pilot and co-pilot of the ill fated Cessna C-337 aircraft, which crash-landed at Langley Park last week Monday, have been released from the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH).

Wayne McDiarmed of St Lucia and first officer Marvin Teka of Grenada, pilot and co-pilot respectively, were released from the hospital last Thursday, following which they left the country.{{more}}

SEARCHLIGHT caught up with the men as they were leaving the MCMH.

They explained that they had been on their way from St Lucia to St Vincent and the Grenadines when they lost their main engine, following which, “it was literally a downhill glide that was interrupted by two coconut trees.”

Glad to be alive, McDiarmed said he is very thankful for the support from all Vincentians, including the rescuers and nurses.

His mother, sister and other relatives rushed over from St Lucia to give him moral support when they learned of the crash.

Co-pilot Marvin Teka also expressed his thanks to God for sparing his life.

Don DeRiggs, director/secretary, Rainbow Radio League (RRL) Inc, told SEARCHLIGHT that he met Mc Diarmed, who is the CEO and chief pilot of Ice Air St Lucia, in 2008, during an exercise to train regional emergency communications first responders (EFR’s).

The RRL said once the concept of ‘Operation X,’ as the exercise was called, was explained to McDiarmed, he was ready to assist and actually flew the aircraft taking the Grenadian, Vincentian and St Lucian EFR’s for the training.

“When I learned that Wayne was one of the pilots in the ill-fated Cessna C-337, I made it my business to go and look up a long-standing friend, supporter and sponsor of the RRL and “Operation X,” DeRiggs told SEARCHLIGHT.

He said just before the men were discharged last Thursday, he presented McDiarmed with a 20th Anniversary medal for his participation during “Operation X,” as his airline was one of the sponsors in 2008.

The RRL is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary of service in the area of Emergency Communications in SVG and the wider region and held an awards ceremony in Mayreau over the Easter weekend, where all sponsors were presented with a specially minted medal to mark the occasion.

“Wayne missed that activity in Mayreau, but as fate would have it, received his award on a hospital bed, when he could still ‘smell and appreciate the flowers’ and thankful to be alive. The RRL joins with other persons in wishing Wayne and Marvin a total and speedy recovery,” DeRiggs said.

The investigation into the crash is being led by Paul Delisle, Flight Operations inspector of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), with assistance from Richard Lindsey, Airworthiness inspector of the ECCAA and officials of the Airports Department.

The US registered Cessna C-337 Sky Master, with registration number N504ME, was a frequent visitor to SVG and had made two trips to the country on Saturday, May 9, only two days before last week’s crash.

A source close to the investigation told SEARCHLIGHT that police retrieved a bag containing over $11,000 from the wreckage of the crash. Investigations into the source and purpose of the money are also said to be continuing.