His boyhood dream was always to be a pilot - Titchfield High grieves the loss of one of their own
Port Antonio, Portland:
The tragic death of 18-year-old trainee pilot, Romone Forbes, in a plane crash last week has plunged staff and students at Titchfield High School in Portland in shock and grief. They are still trying to come to grips with losing one of their own, who many described as a bright young star with limitless potential.
The student pilot with the Caribbean Aviation Training Centre was one three persons aboard a Cessna 172 aircraft, which crashed shortly after take-off from Tinson Pen Aerodrome into a house in Greenwich Town Kingston on Thursday around 1:30 pm, bringing an end to a boyhood dream, while shattering the hopes of family and friends.
Flight instructor, 31-year-old Jonathan Worton of Boon Hall Road, Stony Hill in St Andrew; and trainee pilot 19-year-old Dansheer Gilmore of Ocean Hill, St Ann both died on the spot. Forbes, a son of St Mary, who suffered severe burns to 60 per cent of his body, died later at the Kingston Public Hospital.
The Sunday Gleaner was greeted with overwhelming sadness and grief on a visit to Forbes' alma mater on Friday. In a daze, students and teachers shared fond memories of a young man whose ambition and life-long dream was to become a pilot.
"Had he been at Titchfield today, he would be in upper 6th form or grade 13," teacher Trisha Thompson noted, her face stained with tears.
"Romone was a pleasant and well behaved student, who showed kindness to everyone, and because of his caring attitude, he was well loved and appreciated. When we had career day, he would always come dressed as a pilot, and there was one occasion when we were more than convinced that he had probably stolen a pilot's uniform."
Best friend of the deceased, upper sixth former Fitzroy Brown, bemoaned the loss of his childhood friend, who he said played an integral role in his development.
"I haven't eaten since Thursday," said Brown.
"This must be a bad dream or perhaps a nightmare, which I hope to awake from. We were the best of friends, and he had a yearning and a passion to become a pilot. I remember one teacher telling him in class some years ago that he would never become a pilot. But Romone stood up in class, looked at the teacher and said, 'I guess I will just have to prove you wrong'."
The young man said ever since primary school, Forbes was fascinated by airplanes and was always pretending to fly an aircraft. He remembered his friend making a commitment to just about every student at Titchfield for a free plane ride once he had graduated from aviation school.
"He told me this was going to be his last flight lesson and I was so happy for him. When I heard of about the crash, I was in disbelief, as there was no way this could have happen to him. He had so much to live for and people were backing him all the way. It is just not fair!" Brown exclaimed in anguish.