KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent (CMC) —At least four people, including the pilot of a small aircraft, died when the plane crashed soon after take off from the James Mitchell Airport in Bequia.
They have been identified as the pilot, Robert Sachs and passengers Christian Klepser, 51, a citizen of the United States and his daughters, Annik, 12, and Madita, 10.
Initial reports indicate that the small aircraft with registration number n4023b was on its way to St. Lucia with the passengers who had arrived on Bequia on Boxing Day last year for a short vacation.
The Caribbean Media Corporation’s (CMC) correspondent in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Kenton X. Chance, who travelled to the sister isle of Bequia soon after the crash, quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the bodies had been retrieved.
“Based on what I was told …witnesses said the aircraft had departed the airport …and a few minutes after they heard what they described as a sputtering sound and the aircraft continued to travel for a few moments before another sputtering sound was heard and then they saw the aircraft plunged nose first into the waters,” he reported.
He said divers at a nearby fisheries complex went to the area where the plane crashed “and after a few moments were able to locate the aircraft.
‘One of them said they saw four people inside of the aircraft, all strapped with their seat belts and they presumed they were dead,” Chance reported, saying “subsequently pronounced dead by a medical practitioner”.
Chance said the wreckage of the aircraft is located about 60 to 70 feet and that the bodies have been handed over to the local Coast Guard.
There has been no official statement as yet from the authorities.
(This article was updated at 21:30 on Jan. 6, 2024 to include the photo of the Klepsers)