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One month on, pilot’s family searches for closure

One month after a plane piloted by Byron Ferguson crashed in waters off western New Providence, his family is struggling to move on from the “nightmare”.

Ferguson was piloting a six-seater Piper Aztec aircraft when it crashed two nautical miles from Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) on November 8.

“Everybody is devastated,” said Bjorn Ferguson, the pilot’s brother.

“This is a festive time and we are a closely-knit family.

“We are always looking forward to Christmas with all the family being home and obviously this situation has just put a damper on the whole season for the family.

“What we are looking forward to is just bringing closure to this whole situation, just recovering something and getting answers as to what transpired, what really happened.

“So, because we are unable to do that, we are tormented with the uncertainty.”

The Fergusons shot into the public sphere following the crash.

They accused the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) of botching the search and rescue efforts, something the force denied.

Bjorn Ferguson said he’s unsure how the family will move on.

“That’s the difficulty,” he said.

“Even with my mother, she says, ‘Let me bury my son, let me bury him decent.’ Just to recover.

“It brings closure.”

He said the family has braced for “some hard realities”.

“Even if he is out there, the chances of survival have decreased as time passed,” he said.

“It’s been a month and if you are out in the water for a month without food and the necessary resources, obviously you will still perish. So, it is hard to move on and it’s difficult.

“I can’t find words to express [this].”

The Ferguson family posts on social media daily, asking Byron to come home. 

His mother, Agnes, wrote on Facebook: “The saddest time of my life has happened during the most joyous time of the year.

“A memory that cannot be erased. November 8th, 2018, an aircraft piloted by my son, Captain Byron Quinn Ferguson, crashed in waters off Nirvana Beach.

“Today, December 8th, marks one month since the tragic incident.

“According to investigators, the report on the plane crash will take one year.

“However, no matter how long it takes, the precious memories of Bravo Foxtrot will not be swept away.

“My Christmas is now your Christmas Bravo.”

Bryon’s social media handle was Bravo Foxtrot. 

At last report, the RBDF remained in search and recovery mode.

Officials said Byron Ferguson’s plane disappeared from the radar near Nirvana Beach, after he reported that the door had flown open.

In the hours after the crash, officials spotted debris suspected to be from the aircraft. However, when they returned to the site the next morning, they were unable to find the wreckage.

A week later, a group of civilian divers, led by Gina Knowles, was the first to find plane wreckage, believed to have belonged to the plane Ferguson was flying, off Nirvana Beach.

The RBDF’s response efforts to the tragedy sparked public outrage and allegations of negligence.

 

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018. Education: College of The Bahamas, English

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