Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beech B36TC Bonanza, N6703K: Accident occurred Monday, July 16, 2012 in Nassau, Bahamas

NTSB Identification: ERA12WA457 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 16, 2012 in Nassau, Bahamas
Aircraft: BEECH B36TC, registration: N6703K
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

On July 16, 2012, about 0930 eastern daylight time, a Beech B36TC, N6703K, crashed in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 25 nautical miles north northwest of Nassau, Bahamas. The pilot and passenger are presumed to be fatally injured and the airplane is presumed to be destroyed. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight departed Marsh Harbor Airport (MYAM), Marsh Harbor, Bahamas, about 0912, and was enroute to Daytona, Florida.

The flight was in contact with the FAA Miami Enroute Air Traffic Control Center. The pilot reported encountering severe turbulence and radar and radio contact was lost. Debris from the aircraft was located by the U.S. Coast in the ocean near the last radar .

The accident investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Air Accident Investigation and Prevention Unit Civil Aviation Department of Bahamas. Any further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Air Accident Investigation & Prevention Unit
Bahamas Department of Civil Aviation
P.O. Box AP-59244 Nassau, Bahamas
1 (242) 376-3709
1 (242) 377-6060 FAX

This report is for informational purposes and contains only information obtained for or released by the Government of Bahamas.

It turns out that the Bahamas Air Sea and Rescue Association (BASRA) made a huge blunder Tuesday when it reported that search efforts for two possible survivors of a plane crash had been called off. 

On Wednesday, the US Coast Guard said contrary to information disseminated by BASRA Operations Manager Chris Lloyd, search teams continue to race against the clock to locate the pilot and passenger of a Beechcraft Bonanza BE36, which crashed in waters off the Berry Islands on Monday.

On Tuesday Mr. Lloyd told the Bahama Journal, “the crash was in the ocean, so I would say today it will be called off.”

Mr. Lloyd noted that search and rescue efforts quickly changed to search and recovery mode, therefore search teams would be searching for bodies as opposed to survivors.

“[There’s] no sign of survivors. You’re not looking for bodies really either because they would tend to sink and in the ocean the currents would tend to take them away and you have no idea where they will surface later,” Mr. Lloyd said.

US Coast Guard Petty Officer John-Paul Rios told the Bahama Journal Wednesday morning that Mr. Lloyd disseminated inaccurate information.

“As far as I know we have no time periods for our search efforts. It all depends on what we find at the scene and at this time we are still actively searching,” he said.

“We’ve been searching all through Tuesday night and we have been searching all [Wednesday] morning as well. We had our Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin on scene along with an M860 rescue helicopter which arrived at noon today [Wednesday]. We have also been told that Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) would be providing a surface asset as well,” Mr. Rios said.

Mr. Rios also shot down Mr. Lloyd’s statements that bad weather hampered initial search and rescue efforts.

“I was told that the weather conditions were actually pretty favorable at first. I am not sure if they got worse on Tuesday, but I know in the beginning of the search everything was okay,” he said.

At this point, the only things which have been recovered at the crash site have been debris and an empty inflated life raft.

“Right now all we have found is debris, so until we find something that we determine that there is no point in searching, we will continue to search,” Mr. Rios said.

The pilot and his passenger have been identified as Alan and Kathleen Van Nimwegen.

Both are licensed pilots who live at the Spruce Creek Fly-In community in Port Orange.

According to reports, the couple left Marsh Harbour, Abaco Monday morning en route for Daytona, Florida.


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