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Aircraft collides with fence at ET Joshua

Aircraft collides with fence at ET Joshua


by Jamila Soso-Vincent 15.MAY.09

A pilot managed to escape bodily harm when the aircraft he was commanding crashed into the south side security fence of the E.T Joshua Airport during takeoff, at approximately 10 am on Friday, May 8.{{more}}

The sole occupant of the light twin-engine US-registered aircraft, Colombian Jorge Pardo, was bound for Barbados on a cargo delivery/courier service flight. According to a press release (dated May 8, 2009) from Pardo’s employer Caribbean Freight and Courier Ltd (CFCL), the aircraft encountered heavy winds upon takeoff and “veered off the runway.”

The aircraft sustained significant damage to the right wing and tail during the accident, which resulted in the closure of the airport for just over an hour.

Eyewitness Brandford Medford, who was mowing the grass along the entrance to the Arnos Vale Sports Complex at the time of the incident, related his alarm when he noticed that the aircraft was headed directly for the fence. “I saw the plane run off the strip itself, coming through the grass… I was scared, yeah! So I made a left turn back up, and came down on the other side… to relax myself… to see if any emergency would happen.”

Medford, a groundsman at the National Sports Council, further recounted that once the fire brigade arrived on the scene, the pilot exited the aircraft and assured them that he was unhurt. Medford, who seemed quite nonchalant about the matter, joked about his brief moment of fright, and how people had flocked to the area upon hearing of the collision. He was, however, quite bewildered at how the aircraft had managed to end up facing the opposite direction to which it had taken off. “I’m not too sure about that,” he muttered.

Whilst officials were surveying the damage at the scene of the incident, the pilot, Jorge Pardo, who has about 15 years piloting experience, was walking around taking photographs of the aircraft.

Pardo, who appeared composed, only spoke to reporters long enough to provide his name, place of residence, nationality and place of employment – refusing to answer any further questions. “For courtesy, I give you my name and residence, but nothing more.”

In the press release, CFCL Managing Director Richard Drayton stated: “Caribbean Freight and Courier Ltd wishes to assure the public that this is only a temporary set back. Our service will continue as the replacement aircraft is positioned.” Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT on Monday, May 11, Drayton confirmed that the replacement aircraft has already arrived and business has resumed as normal. CFCL had chartered the aircraft from Monarch Air Group LLC, of the USA.

A separate press release from the Airports Department indicated that the accident investigation unit at the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority will conduct a full investigation. Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT, Deputy Director of Airports Joel Jack assured that the investigation process will be thorough, with reports submitted by all involved parties.