At about 1:45 pm on June 13 and in the midst of a stormy afternoon a Sky Bahamas flight carrying 21 passengers on route from Fort Lauderdale to Marsh Harbour crash landed on the runway and came to rest safely without serious harm to any passengers or crew.
According to one passenger as the airplane – a thirty-four passenger Saab 340 – approached the runway from the west to land it landed very hard and bounced off the runway three times. He said on the third bounce the right wing and landing gear broke and what appeared to be fuel poured onto the wing and the engine caught on fire.
At this point the passenger said the plane spun down the runway finally coming to rest almost directly across from the airport terminal and south of the runway. He grabbed his daughter and told his wife to head to the opposite side of the plane because of the fire on the right side and he and his family, along with passengers and crew safely exited the plane.
Several passengers and onlookers applauded the quick thinking of the pilot who, as soon as the wing broke, cut power to the engines and turned on the foam extinguishing system. Between the foam and the heavy rain the fire was quickly extinguished.
Traumatized passengers were helped by emergency response personnel and were eventually reunited in tearful but thankful embraces with waiting family members.
CEO of Sky Bahamas, Randy Butler expressed thankfulness that passengers and crew were able to walk away from the crash landing and said he was preparing to go shortly to Marsh Harbour to “see the passengers and reach out to them and just be available to assist them.”
He said from his understanding there was no equipment failure but that the cause may be weather related.
“I am thankful for the many people that were praying and I am thankful for all the wonderful people that did a good job and more than thankful that nobody got hurt,” he said.
According to Keith Major, Chief Operations Officer at the Department of Civil Aviation said that Marsh Harbour International Airport will be closed until the plane is removed and the damage to the runway is repaired. At present there is not a time frame on when that will be. Investigation into the cause is underway.