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Aviation Authority gives reason for handing over plane crash case to US

Published:Wednesday | September 17, 2014 | 5:57 PM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) has sought to clear the air on its decision to delegate investigative responsibility into the crash of the TBM 900 aircraft in Jamaican waters to the United States National Transport Safety Board (NTSB).

Nari Williams-Singh, Deputy Director General for Regulatory Affairs at the JCAA, said that given the circumstances of the particular accident, the majority of what took place occurred in US airspace.

United States real estate developer, Larry Glazer and his wife Jane perished when the small aircraft crashed in Portland on September 5.

Rescue efforts which were being conducted by Jamaican and United States authorities were discontinued after three days as they were unable to locate any debris related to the aircraft.

Asked about Jamaica’s capacity to carry out investigations of this nature, Williams-Singh suggested that local professionals were more than capable.

“It’s not that we are not capable. I think that the state have demonstrated our capability in investigating accidents as we saw in the American Airlines issue in 2009,” said Williams-Singh. “But the majority of what took place occurred in US airspace,” he added.

“There was communication with US air traffic control, there was visual contact with US military and it was a US domestic operation so we felt that the NTSB was the best to conduct the investigation,” Williams-Singh said.

He stressed that the JCAA is an accredited representative in the investigations.

Information Minister Sandrea Falconer said that after the Jamaica Defence Force and the United States Coast Guard terminated the search for the aircraft official correspondence was dispatched to the NTSB, which accepted the invitation to carry out the investigations.

She noted that the JCAA had named an accredited representative to the investigation team. He is Captain Christopher Kirkaldy, Senior Aviation Safety Inspector with the JCAA.

Chargé d'Affaires at the United States Embassy in Kingston, Elizabeth Martinez commended the Jamaican authorities for their response to the crash.

The aircraft crashed at approximately 1:10 p.m. just off the coast of Port Antonio, Portland after departing Rochester, New York heading south to Naples, Florida with the two people on board.

The aircraft bypassed Florida, flew over Cuba and into Jamaica’s airspace before crashing into the sea apparently after it ran out of fuel.

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