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Nine men killed in plane crash

Shortly after 12 p.m. on October 5, 2010, an aircraft fell out of the sky and crashed into Lake Killarney.

The nine men travelling on the nine-seat Cessna were killed. The plane crashed minutes after it took off from Lynden Pindling International Airport. The flight was on the way to San Salvador.

Clarence Nataniel Williams, 38, Chet Johnson, 39, Corey Farquharson, 41, pilot Nelson Hanna, 43, Junior Lubin, 23, Devon Storr, 27, Chanoine Mildor, 44, Delon Taylor, 28, and Lavard Curtis, 26, died that day.

Seven of the victims died instantly. One died while being transported to the hospital. The last victim, Lubin, was found three days later about 200 feet from the crash site.

The plane was severely damaged as a result of the crash. Its roof was peeled back and its wings were broken. The shallow Lake Killarney offered little cushion for the 4,000-pound plane.

An eyewitness said he and several friends watched in shock as the plane went down.

“We saw it smoking,”said William Bethell, who works for the Nassau Airport Development Company.

“We ran through the bush; everyone swam out and we brought the bodies to shore. It was a terrible scene.”

The tragic accident led to renewed calls for the regulation of the charter industry. The company operating the doomed flight Acklins Blue Air Charter was not properly registered with the Civil Aviation Department(CAD).

CAD director Pat Rolle said it is hard to prove that charter companies are operating without licenses, as passengers are complicit with the offense. Passengers often refuse to admit to authorities that they paid uncertified charter operators, Rolle added.

Civil Aviation moved to crack down on illegal operations after the crash. It is understood that dozens of uncertified charter flights operate in The Bahamas daily.

It may take more than a year before the families of the victims, and the country, learn what caused the accident on October 5. The plane is being examined by its manufacturer.

The Lake Killarney crash was the most significant airaccident affecting The Bahamas since a Chalk’s Airline plane, destined for Bimini, went down off Miami in December 2005. Twenty people were killed including 11 Bahamians.

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