Steven Saint-Amour is managing director Eclipse Group Inc. The marine operations service provider helps with the recovery of fallen aircraft.
(By Joshua McKerrow, Staff / January 28, 2015)
Whenever a plane crashes, Steven Saint-Amour tries to learn as much as he can.
It's part of his work as managing director of the Annapolis-based Eclipse Group Inc. One of the marine operations service provider's functions is to help with the recovery of fallen aircraft.
Saint-Amour never knows when his firm will be called in, so he always does his research — just in case.
This fall, Saint-Amour was intrigued by CNN's round-the-clock coverage of the crash involving Larry and Jane Glazer, a prominent Rochester, New York, couple who were flying in their personal airplane when it went down in the Caribbean Sea.
Months later, representatives of the Glazers contracted the Eclipse Group to search for the downed plane near Jamaica. Saint-Amour and a team of 20 contractors spent six days there and recovered it. The National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate.
"I get a lot of raised eyebrows. (People say) 'What a terrible job you would have to perform,'" Saint-Amour said. "I counter that it's actually incredibly satisfying, because associated with the victims is a family. They want their loved ones back and they want to know what happened. If we can help them find some closure, that's an incredible feeling to walk away with."
Larry Glazer ran Buckingham Properties, a property management and development firm, and Jane was founder and chief executive of QCI Direct, which sells home and personal care products online and through catalogs.
On Sept. 5, they were flying to Florida when their turboprop lost cabin pressure and the depleted oxygen left them unconscious, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
U.S. Air Force fighter jets accompanied the plane as it continued south for hours, eventually running out of fuel and crashing about 12 miles north of Jamaica.
Last week, the Glazer family released a statement to the media that thanked Saint-Amour and Eclipse for their role in the search.
"The search was a success, and so it is with great relief that we will be bringing our parents home," said the statement, attributed to the Glazers' children, Mindy MacLaren and Rick and Ken Glazer.
"We also recovered significant portions of the aircraft itself and we are hopeful that, in time, this will provide us with answers as to exactly what happened that day … Knowing we did all that could be done to bring our parents home provides us with the possibility for closure and eventual healing."
The Eclipse Group was incorporated in 2009, but its business operations began in 2012. Saint-Amour operates out of an office on Annapolis Exchange Parkway, but uses 22 contractors stationed around the world who can be called in for projects at any time.
In 2013, the company received a nearly $23 million contract with the Naval Underwater Warfare Center Division in Newport, Rhode Island, to provide operational and logistical support for ocean testing and at-sea projects.
Saint-Amour and his crew were in Jamaica Jan. 15-20, conducting their investigation in the Caribbean Sea. As four months had passed since the crash, there was no fuel or debris to indicate the wreckage's location. But crash data from the plane gave them an approximate idea where it went down.
The investigators used Phoenix International's autonomous underwater vehicle — an unmanned submersible — to find components of the plane. After that, the investigation was turned over to federal investigators.
Saint-Amour also gives lectures around the world on aircraft technology.
"With air crashes, everybody doesn't really want to think about it," he said. "You always think it will happen to the other guy."
- Story and photo gallery: http://www.capitalgazette.com
Eclipse Group Inc: http://www.eclipse.us.com
Steven Saint Amour of Eclipse Group Inc. talks about remotely operated underwater vehicles used to assist in salvage.
(By Joshua McKerrow, Baltimore Sun Media Group / January 28, 2015)
Larry and Jane Glazer
NEW 51LG LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N900KN
NTSB Identification: ERA14LA424
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 05, 2014 in Open Water, Jamaica
Aircraft: SOCATA TBM 700, registration: N900KN
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On September 5, 2014, about 1410 eastern daylight time (EDT), a Socata TBM700 (marketed as TBM900), N900KN, impacted open water near the coast of northeast Jamaica. The commercial pilot/owner and his passenger were fatally injured. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight that originated from Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC), Rochester, New York at 0826 and destined for Naples Municipal Airport (APF), Naples, Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) data received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), after departing ROC the pilot climbed to FL280 and leveled off. About 1000 the pilot contacted ATC to report an "indication that is not correct in the plane" and to request a descent to FL180. The controller issued instructions to the pilot to descend to FL250 and subsequently, due to traffic, instructed him to turn 30 degrees to the left and then descend to FL200. During this sequence the pilot became unresponsive. An Air National Guard intercept that consisted of two fighter jets was dispatched from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Eastover, South Carolina and intercepted the airplane at FL250 about 40 miles northwest of Charleston, South Carolina. The fighters were relieved by two fighter jets from Homestead Air Force Base, Homestead, Florida that followed the airplane to Andros Island, Bahamas, and disengaged prior to entering Cuban airspace. The airplane flew through Cuban airspace, eventually began a descent from FL250 and impacted open water northeast of Port Antonio, Jamaica.
According to a review of preliminary radar data received from the FAA, the airplane entered a high rate of descent from FL250 prior to impacting the water. The last radar target was recorded over open water about 10,000 feet at 18.3547N, -76.44049W.
The Jamaican Defense Authority and United States Coast Guard conducted a search and rescue operation. Search aircraft observed an oil slick and small pieces of debris scattered over one-quarter mile that were located near the last radar target. Both entities concluded their search on September 7, 2014.
Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19