A visit ended tragically as a helicopter carrying five persons crashed near the Marina Village at Baker’s Bay Golf and Ocean Club on Guana Cay on Thursday, November 22 leaving one dead and four injured.
The victim of Thursday’s fatal helicopter crash has been identified as Lance O. Valdez, a Lyford Cay resident, who owned the downed aircraft. According to The Nassau Guardian Lyford Cay residents and others who knew him confirmed it is Mr. Valdez, a Lyford Cay property owner.
Mr. Valdez and the others onboard were reportedly friends and family of Jeffrey Soffer, owner of the Fontainebleau Resorts in Miami, who was confirmed to be at the property at the time of the crash; however, it is still unclear if he was on the helicopter when it went down.
In a statement released by the Guana Cay, Abaco club, they said: “The entire Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club community is shocked and saddened by this tragedy particularly occurring on a day that symbolizes family and togetherness. Thank you to our first responders, staff, and members; their quick and decisive actions prevented further damage and injury.”
The crash happened at about 1 p.m., they said, with five persons on board.
“The four surviving passengers were evacuated from Baker’s Bay and are currently receiving medical attention,” the company said. “At the present time we have no update on the conditions of the four injured passengers. No staff or members on the ground were injured.”
According to the Associated Press, Baker’s Bay employees helped pull the survivors from the wreckage. They were then taken by boat from Guana Cay to Marsh Harbour where they were met at the dock by a doctor and a private ambulance.
The four survivors were airlifted to New Providence and Miami, Florida. When the three passengers were stabilised they were flown by a private plane to the United States. All five people onboard are Americans, police confirmed.
A witness of the crash said as the helicopter attempted to land it went into a tailspin twice before crashing.
A police report suggested that heavy winds may have played a role in the crash; however, up to press time the preliminary report from the Civil Aviation Department’s investigation had not been received.