2 killed in helicopter crash off Caribbean island

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bimjim
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2 killed in helicopter crash off Caribbean island

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Oct 25, 2008

2 killed in helicopter crash off Caribbean island

http://www.pr-inside.com/killed-in-heli ... 875666.htm
© AP
2008-10-22 23:44:00 -

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (AP)

Authorities say two people have died in a helicopter crash off the Caribbean island of Saba. Bobby Velasquez of the St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation says the pilot and co-pilot were both killed. Authorities are investigating. The privately owned helicopter took off late Tuesday from St. Maarten. Velasquez said it was en route to pick up a medical patient. Saba is a popular diving destination in the Netherlands Antilles. The island is home to about 1,500 residents.

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Other News:_

The St. Maarten Sea Rescue has now found human remains and debris from a helicopter that disappeared last night between the island of St. Maarten and Saba. On board the ill fated aircraft at the time of the crash was Police Inspector Churchill Marsdin and Mike the pilot. The helicopter went missing at 10:46PM on Tuesday evening while en route to Saba to pick up a medical patient. The human remains are now being identified in a lab. The aircraft wreckage was found at 17.51 degrees north and 13 degrees west on the 210 degree radial of the PJM VOR at 12 DME or 12 miles out. The search has now been called off.

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Re: 2 killed in helicopter crash off Caribbean island

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Nov 13, 2008

St. Maarten Herald - 12 November, 2008

http://www.thedailyherald.com/news/dail ... er152.html

Crashed helicopter flight to Saba not according to rules

PHILIPSBURG--The helicopter flight to Saba three weeks ago to transport a patient did not take place according to existing rules and regulations of the Directorate of Civil Aviation. The company had no licence to fly commercial flights between islands and was in the process of obtaining a licence for tour flights.

However, the equipment and the maintenance of the aircraft were in order and therefore it was safe to have made the flight to help out in an emergency situation, said Transport Minister Maurice Adriaens in a meeting of the Central Committee of Parliament, which is holding session in St. Maarten this week.

The tragic helicopter accident involving Police Chief Inspector Alfred Marsdin and pilot Michael Huttenlocker, and civil aviation procedures in general, were discussed. The meeting did not focus on the details regarding the investigation into the helicopter crash.

“I hope we can conclude from the investigation what happened, but because of the deep sea, main parts of the helicopter could not be retrieved, making it difficult for the investigators to determine exactly what happened. Whatever happened happened quickly and it was a violent impact,” Adriaens said.

It was noticeable that neither members of the National Alliance political faction William Marlin and Frans Richardson, nor Democratic Party Parliamentarian Erno Labega were present in the meeting.

The Central Committee meeting was requested by PAR Parliamentarian Glenn Liqui-Lung. He stressed that that better regulation was needed in the aviation business. Liqui-Lung pointed out that air ambulance flights were still defined as commercial flights, but that separate rules and regulations should be put in place and that the Directorate of Civil Aviation should exercise more controls over compliance with the regulations.

“What requirements does someone need to start ambulance flights and what are the requirements for equipment?” he asked.

He acknowledged that control was a big problem on all islands of the Netherlands Antilles, not only in aviation, but also in other sectors such as the labour sector. Hence, Liqui-Lung wanted to know how the Directorate of Civil Aviation had been complying with its task of having regular controls on all islands, “Procedures, manuals and checklists: do they exist?” he asked.

Member of Parliament Ray Hassell (WIPM-Saba) lamented the accident and said that it had been out of good heart that Marsdin and the pilot had decided to help another human being in Saba. “However, better means should be put in place,” he said and asked whether the flight had been executed in accordance with procedure.

The Minister informed Parliament that the Antilles doesn’t have specific regulations for ambulance flights, because this type of flight is very expensive. Consequently, private companies help transport patients to Curaçao and St. Maarten on many occasions. The Central Government is working on the necessary rules and regulations to be laid down in amendments to the law on civil aviation.

Transporting patients to and from Saba, Adriaens said, posed additional problems because of the short landing strip and planes not being able to land on the island at night. He said it was possible to use a helicopter, but this was not the ideal way to transport a patient because he or she would have to sit in the aircraft.

Furthermore, the Minister pointed out that while aviation had regulations, things could always go wrong. A major bottleneck has been the controls by the Directorate of Civil Aviation, he said. “The further away from Curaçao, the less the regular controls take place. The same goes for maritime matters,” Adriaens said.

The financial burden, he continued, has always impeded the Central Government in making the situation better and it has been increasingly more and more difficult even to carry out the regular controls.

Adriaens warned that efforts of the Finance Department to slash budgets just to make them balanced should not lead to a situation in which the Antilles could not comply with international treaties. In this regard he asked Parliament to look closely at these matters when discussing the budget.

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