Bahamas Releases Preliminary Report on Abaco Helicopter Crash

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Above: Baker’s Bay

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The Bahamas Ministry of Transportation and Aviation has completed its preliminary report on the Abaco helicopter crash that killed a New York businessman last week.

The report, which was completed through the Civil Aviation Department’s Air Accident Investigation and Prevention Unit, found that control of the helicopter was lost while attempting to land at the Baker’s Bay Golf and Ocean Club on Abaco’s Great Guana Cay.

Florida-based real estate developer Jeffrey Soffer, whose company owns the Fontainebleau resort in Miami Beach, was among the crash’s survivors.

The helicopter first departed from Marsh Harbour International Airport at 1:10 PM EST on Thursday, Nov. 22, with five passengers on board.

“While attempting to land, control was lost, resulting in the helicopter crash-landing at Baker’s Bay Golf and Ocean Club, Great Guana Cay, Abaco,” the report said.

The crash killed one passenger and left four others with “injuries of varying severity.”

“The surviving passengers were rescued and stabilized prior to being transported to Marsh Harbour for further evaluations prior to being airlifted to South Florida [three persons] and Nassau [1 person],” the report said.

A three-member team from the Bahamas Civil Aviation Department began the investigation on Friday, and members of the Baker’s Bay Golf and Ocean Club and the Royal Bahamas Police Force provided a “detailed briefing” to them.

The Air Accident Investigation Prevention Unit completed its on-site investigations, recovered the wreckage and relocated it to a “secure location.”

According to International Civil Aviation Organization and Bahamas Civli Aviation Safety regulations, the manufacturers of the airframe, engine and propeller and the State of Design have been notified of the accident.

The unit is currently coordinating plans for additional analysis and testing to determine the cause and contributing factors of the accident, it said.

The Ministry said it was expected that “further analyses and testing will take place” to determine the cause and contributing factors of the crash.

“The Ministry of Transport and Aviation extends its sincere condolences to the family of the deceased and its best wishes for the speedy recovery of the survivors of the crash,” it said in a statement.

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