Monday, July 16, 2012

Beech B36TC Bonanza, Van Auto Inc., N6703K: Accident occurred 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.

  Regis#: 6703K        Make/Model: BE36      Description: 36 Bonanza
  Date: 07/20/2012     Time: 1200

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Unknown

  City: MIAMI   State: FL   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   2
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: SOUTH FLORIDA, FL  (SO19)             Entry date: 07/20/2012 

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.


NO SURVIVORS were found on day two of the search following a plane crash off the Berry Islands on Monday. 

 According to the US media, the aircraft was carrying Alan and Kathleen Van Nimwegen, a married couple from Daytona Beach, Florida, who are both licensed pilots and frequent visitors to their vacation home in Abaco.

Speaking with The Tribune yesterday, BASRA’s operations director Chris Lloyd said while the search effort continued, it is thought the couple perished in the crash.

He said: “There was never going to be any (survivors) – the wreckage was just so bad.”

The single engine aircraft, which left from Marsh Harbour for Daytona Beach, Florida Monday morning, lost radio contact and dropped off radar about 20 minutes after take off, a police source said.

Mr Lloyd said after speaking with the US Coast Guard, he understands satellite radar showed severe weather over what would have been the plane’s direct route to Florida.

He said it appears the pilot went south to avoid the weather, losing communication with Miami towers around 9.20am, just after the couple said they were experiencing turbulence.

A search was launched near Great Harbour Cay, Berry Islands where the last communication was received.

However, because of the severe weather, BASRA was unable to send up a search plane, said Mr Lloyd.

Surprised that a single engine plane took off in such harsh conditions, he said, “There was no way we could ask someone to volunteer to fly into that type of weather.”

Mr Lloyd said the Coast Guard responded quickly, deploying a helicopter that found  massive debris field, oil slick and empty life raft around five miles off Great Harbour Cay.

Bahamian police and the US Navy were also at the scene assisting with the search.

The search has now been called off.


Alan and Kathleen Van Nimwegen, owners of Seminole Paint and Auto Body Shop in Sanford, went missing during a flight Monday morning. 

The U.S. Coast Guard continued their efforts to locate Sanford business owners Alan and Kathleen Van Nimwegen Monday after their plane crashed on a trip from Bahamas to Daytona Beach.

Family of the couple, who own and operate Seminole Paint and Auto Body Shop in Sanford, released a statement Monday afternoon.

“The families of Alan Van Nimwegen and Kathleen Van Nimwegen hold out hope for the return of Alan and Kathleen," the statement said. "Alan and Kathleen were en route from the Bahamas to Florida, when radar contact with their airplane was lost during bad weather. As of this release, US Coast Guard search and rescue operations are continuing in the area of the last radar contact with their plane."

The Nimwegens were residents of Port Orange and friends said the two frequently flew to their home in Bahamas for weekends. They returned during the week to run their auto shop.

Federal Aviation Administration officials said contact was lost with the aircraft, which is a Beechcraft Bonanza, around 9 a.m. Monday. The plane had departed from marsh Harbor in the Bahamas.

Search teams from the U.S. Coast Guard located debris possibly related to the crash including a life vest and an oxygen tank. However, no one had been found.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The family of a couple aboard a plane that crashed over the Atlantic Ocean while heading from the Bahamas to Daytona Beach has issued a statement. 

 "The families of Alan Van Nimwegen and Kathleen Van Nimwegen hold out hope for the return of Alan and Kathleen," the statement said.  "Alan and Kathleen were en route from the Bahamas to Florida, when radar contact with their airplane was lost during bad weather. As of this release, US Coast Guard search and rescue operations are continuing in the area of the last radar contact with their plane."

Federal Aviation Administration officials said they lost communication with the BE 36, which had departed Marsh Harbor, around 9 a.m. Monday.

The Nimwegens are longtime residents of Port Orange and frequently vacation in the Bahamas, the family said.  They lived in Hewitt, N.J., before moving to Florida. Friends of the couple say they were owners of the Seminole Paint and Auto Body Shop in Sanford.

Local 6 spoke to a man who helped care for the Nimwegens' plane in the Bahamas, who described Al Nimwegen as a cautious and seasoned pilot who was worried about the weather.

"He's a good pilot, he's been coming here for years," said Rudolph Key.

The search team located possible aircraft debris, including a life vest and oxygen tank overnight, and an oil sheen was located southwest of the debris field.  So far, however, no one has been found.

Local 6 confirmed Van Nimwegan had a flight plan with Miami Flight Service, who said on Tuesday there is still no sign of the aircraft.

"He told Miami Flight Service he was having problems," Key told Local 6.

Coast Guard officials will continue to search the area.

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Coast Guard officials said they located debris that could be a crashed plane headed from the Bahamas to Daytona Beach, but the Central Florida couple believed to have been on board has not been located. 

 A search for the plane's passengers continues on Tuesday.

Federal Aviation Administration officials began searching after they lost contact with the craft while it traveled from Marsh Harbor, Bahamas toward Florida.

Keith Rogers said he feared that the passengers were his close friends, Al and Kathleen Van Nimwegen, who own Seminole Paint and Body in Sanford.

Rogers, who owns Dive Abaco in the Bahamas, said no one has been able to contact the pair.

"It's very sad. We are all down about the possibility of losing those two," he said.

Friends said the couple lives in the Spruce Creek Fly-In community and travels every weekend to their second home in Marsh Harbour.

"I have known them 15 years, and they flew in here pretty much every single weekend. They would fly in on Friday and fly back on Monday so he could go back and run the auto body shop," Rogers said.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A Daytona Beach couple is missing after their plane crashed into the ocean, during a trip back home from the Bahamas on Monday. 

 The U.S. Coast Guard said it found some wreckage while searching for survivors Tuesday morning.

The couple owns an auto body business in Sanford, WFTV learned.

According to a friend, they work Monday through Friday and fly to a second home in the Bahamas almost every weekend.

The couple reportedly left their home in the Bahamas on Monday around noon, after adjusting their flight plan because of bad weather in the area.

Not long after that, the Federal Aviation Administration notified the Coast Guard that they'd lost communication with a plane carrying two passengers on board.

A search was mounted and a helicopter crew located a debris field along the route that Al and Kathleen Van Nimwegen would have been taking from Marsh Island in Abaco to the Spruce Creek fly-in community where they lived near Daytona Beach.

A friend in the Bahamas WFTV spoke with Monday night said he believed they were flying a relative's plane, but it's a route they've flown many times before.

"They've been doing it every weekend ever since I've known them. They might miss the odd weekend, but generally it's every weekend," said friend Keith Rogers. "No one has heard from them and there was a downed plane, and they did leave the island at noon today, so I guess it's pretty much a given that they are the victims of the crash."

The Coast Guard has not confirmed any deaths or the make of the plane, but friends from the Bahamas said they fear the worst.


 NASSAU, Bahamas — U.S. and Bahamian officials are searching for any survivors from a small plane crash near the archipelago off Florida’s east coast. 

The U.S. Coast Guard in Miami says a small plane carrying two people lost communications with aviation officials Monday afternoon. Authorities have not disclosed the aircraft’s tail number or details about the missing passengers.

The small plane apparently departed from Marsh Harbor, Bahamas, and was en route to Daytona Beach, Florida.

A helicopter crew located possible debris from an aircraft off the Bahamas. Bahamian authorities later located a sheen of oil nearby. 

 Miami-based Coast Guard cutter, Bahamian officials search for missing plane, passengers

A U. S. Coast Guard cutter stationed in Miami has joined Bahamian officials in the search for two possible survivors from a plane crash near the Bahamas on Monday.

The Coast Guard received notification Monday afternoon from Federal Aviation Administration officials that it had lost communications with a small airplane with two on board.

The plane reportedly took off from Marsh Harbor, Bahamas and was headed for Daytona Beach.

Bahamian authorities, including Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Bahamian Air and Sea Rescue Association, requested the Coast Guard's assistance in locating the site of the crash.