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One year on, families of crash victims far from healed

When a six-seater Piper Aztec aircraft went down off Mastic Point, Andros, one year ago today, multiple families were left shattered.

The crash killed Ricardo “Carter” Campbell; Margaret Adderley; Darren Clarke, the pilot; Valentino Russell; Desiree Russell and her 10-year-old daughter, Destinique Wilson after it departed San Andros Airport on its way to New Providence.

Campbell’s brother Sidney said the family still has no closure with his brother’s only child being the most impacted by the tragedy.

“It was very difficult for us during the Christmas time because we would always communicate with each other and he wasn’t here,” he said.

Ricardo Campbell.

“His only child, Treasure, she is taking it extremely rough and tough because in all instance that was her best friend.”

He said relatives continue to keep Campbell’s memory alive by visiting the home of their deceased parents to cherish the good times.

“It’s Ricardo, we’ll never forget him…I can assure you that.”

He remembered his brother as his confidante and one of the most generous people he ever knew.

“We are still seeking closure because those kinds of accidents don’t need to happen,” Sidney Campbell said.

The family is still hoping that someone will be held accountable for those deaths.

Margaret’s husband, Kermit Adderley, described the past year as a “tough challenge” for their family.

He said while the family got together during the holidays to spend time in Andros, her absence was noteworthy, especially when their grandson turned one.

Margaret was on her way to New Providence to meet the newborn when the plane crashed.

The mother of two and a native of Mastic Point was seen as the nucleus of the family, always ensuring everyone was well cared for.

Adderley said friends and relatives plan to gather around her grave today to celebrate her life.

While getting through the past year was not easy, Elizabeth Saunders, Clarke’s aunt, said today may be harder to get through.

Saunders said she can only imagine the pain that is to come when she has to relive the day they learned Clarke’s plane crashed.

“It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t easy, it was not easy,” Saunders said.

“Already, I am seeing memories from Facebook with other family members putting it up and it hasn’t been easy. Even though we had closure, it hasn’t been easy because everyone was from Andros.

“For me I had my neighbor, my coworker and my nephew were a part of it, so it wasn’t easy for me.”

Saunders said the tragedy hit even harder for her 92-year-old mother, who spent hours talking to Clarke when he came home in the afternoons.

She said her mother dealt with additional health issues in the months after Clarke’s death to the point that she had to be sedated to keep her heart from racing.

Darren Clarke.

She added that the memory of his smile and the time he spent in the home playing with his younger cousins are the moments she hold most dear.

“I have his picture in the front room and every time I look at that I just pray and try so hard to hold my tears back,” Saunders said.

“But I say whatever God does is well done.”

Investigators revealed that Clarke was operating a commercial flight in breach of his private pilot’s license, a practice otherwise known as “hacking”.

They also determined that weather conditions on the morning of the flight required the pilot to rely on the instruments of the twin-engine Piper, a certification he did not possess for that type of plane.

The crash triggered demands for the need for stricter regulations in the aviation charter sector.

Sloan Smith

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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