By Tess Hennigan
Caribbean Net News Staff Reporter
The pilot of a Cessna 401 that crash-landed on Salt Cay on Friday managed to bring the plane and its six passengers down safely and avert what could have been a tragic accident.
TCI Net News reported on Friday that the plane crash-landed on approach to Salt Cay airstrip late in the afternoon, and has since obtained information from residents on the island about the crash.
According to our sources, the pilot said the engine of the small aircraft stalled about three miles out from Salt Cay, and he “coasted” the plane in.
Unable to make it to the runway, the pilot nevertheless managed to bring the plane down safely; skidding across the Salinas.
There had been approximately seven flights previously during the day carrying residents and visitors alike for the Salt Cay Homecoming Festival, all of which were incident free.
The final plane was a private flight, and crash-landed just prior to the start of the Homecoming Festival parade.
The community rushed to assist the victims and, while responding to the crash, the Salt Cay fire truck became stuck in the Salinas as well.
One passenger is said to have suffered an injured leg in the crash. No other injuries have been reported at this time. Neither the extent of the injury nor the identity of the passenger is known at this time. There are no further details at this time on the injuries or condition of the aircraft.
Air Turks and Caicos issued a statement saying that the aircraft that made the emergency landing on Salt Cay on Friday afternoon was not an Air Turks and Caicos flight, nor was it operating for or on behalf of Air Turks and Caicos.
"We can confirm that the plane is owned by Paul Gardiner, and we understand that the flight was a private flight. The pilot was not Paul Gardiner, as initially reported by some media outlets, but was flown by Bradley Williams, an off-duty Air Turks and Caicos pilot and landed more than an hour before official airport closing time," the statement said.