Brac plane crash electrical

| 13/09/2012

wreckage.JPG(CNS): UK officials have said that a plane crash on Cayman Brac last year was probably down to an electrical failure which drove the Cessna 210 aircraft off its original course and ultimately to its demise when it attempted an emergency landing on a remote road. The details of the accident are revealed in a newly published report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch, which indicates that Cayman was never the plane’s intended destination. The crash investigators concluded that the pilots were taking significant risks during the flight that both would have been well aware of but the accident report does not speculate on the reasons why the pilots placed themselves in danger.

Although neither the RCIPS nor the new report have gone into the details of what the pilots were doing, the implication has always been that the men were likely involved in an illegal drug operation. However, in the wake of the report’s publication, the RCIPS confirmed again that no cargo other than the fuel tanks had ever been recovered by investigating officers who arrived on the scene shortly after the crash. 

According to the AAIB report, the aircraft’s probable electrical failure prevented the use of a modified fuel system intended to provide additional range for the aircraft and also drove the pilots off their intended flight path.

“The aircraft then deviated from its original flight path, possibly because the crew intended to divert to Cuba, and its track passed over Cayman Brac. Evidence indicates that the pilot attempted to land on a road. The aircraft was destroyed when it encountered obstacles, including poles, beside the road. The manner of operation of this aircraft, including extended flights over water and the modified fuel system, introduced risks to the flight of which the crew must have been aware,” the investigators stated.

The small plane crashed about 10 miles north of the airport in the evening of Sunday 13 November. At the time, local police as well as fire and rescue officers who attended the scene found no hope of survivors and sealed off the crash site. Both Jose Santos Castaneda Castrejon, age 35, a Mexican national,and Fernando Duran Garcia, age 56, who was Colombian, were killed in the smash as a result of blunt force trauma.

It is estimated by officials that emergency service personnel were on the scene some eight minutes after the crash was reported by an off-duty police officer. Then, once the site was secured, RCIPS investigators, including CID and DSCTF officers, the Joint Intelligence Unit and the Air Operations Unit, all worked alongside the AAIB inspectorsto investigate the crash.

“It was clear early on in the investigation that the flight this aircraft was embarked on was not in accordance with the international rules of aviation or the subject of any official flight planning,” the RCIPS stated in connection with the incident.

The crash investigators analysed the tracks of the aircraft from GPS units found on the aircraft, which showed that the planned route was from Mexico into Venezuela. The investigation revealed that in the weeks prior to the crash the pilots had made long distance flights from Central America into Venezuela, returning into unrecognized landing sites in Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. 

“At no time was there any evidence that previous or intended routes included the Cayman Islands, or passing close to the Islands … As both pilots died instantly, it will always be a matter of conjecture the reason for the deviation, and indeed the purpose of the flight,” the police stated.

RCIPS Air Operations Commander Steve Fitzgerald said the men were both commercial pilots.

“They would have been fully aware of the International requirements of flight planning and the risks associated with unauthorised fuel modifications, together with flying a single engine aircraft over a 1,000 miles over sea and at night.  The addition into the cabin of plastic open fuel containers is an incredible risk that both pilots must have been aware of,” he added.

See full crash report here

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What’s the big deal drug planes and boats are always in the region . This is the first one to crash on land that i know of . drugs always wash ashore they either come from boats or air drops get use to it .the us coast guard is trying really hard to cut those links if they can’t we don’t stand a chance .and about the $ 5000 that is small bigger things have gone missing we will never get the whole story don’t lose any sleep.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That $5000 gone missing like the missing drugs that caused a criminal to walk free & no word on who took the drugs from police protection! Rcip us a waste of govt $$! Start the cut there Keke!


  3. The X Factor says:

    There are too many unanswered questions in this case. Too many things that would give evidence to wrong doing. I think the people of cayman should be a allow a more indept investigation to this crash. If it was a drug plane that crashed in our islands we have the right to know this so we can be aware of the possible dangers that may come along with it. Questions: have the police records of the two men been checked? If so, what does it show? Why not just landat the airport if you are truly in trouble? According to the news reports at the time, I remember kenneth bryan (former CITN reporter) saying that people said the plane passed the airport and abviously choose not to land there but insend on the bluff. Why? Too many unanswered questions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Airport was CLOSED, and why would you land there if you wanted to dump the aircraft. You ALL need to read the ful report


  4. Anonymous says:

    Righteo.   Just a simple malfunction, which caused a small airplane to bypass the well-lit airport and select an unlit remote bluff road which had just added utility poles a few months prior.  

    Sounds completely plausible.   Nothing but fuel containers recovered.  Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. 

    • Anonymous says:

      actually the airport wouldnt have been well lit at 11pm….

      • Anonymous says:

        The Brac airport is always better lit than a completely dark, narrow road on top of the bluff.  

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes but when you have no idea where that airport is or if there is an airport at all and you see a clear or what you think is a clear piece of road and you are dangerously close to running out of fuel youtry to land with what you have before the engine stop running!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    What happened to the 5000 dollars?

  6. Anonymous says:

    They weren't flying drugs, it's the plane they were delivering. These old highwing Cessnas (the 210 ceased production in 1985) are ideal for drug drops.

  7. Da Bracster says:

    Yes a what of her precious cargo of Venezuelan mangoes we can only drool and speculate as to their whereabouts i guess?

  8. Cheese Face says:

    How thick do you think we are?????

    • Anonymous says:

      Depends where you are from and what you are trying to say.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not very, but extremely thick.  Why let evidence and tracked events get in the way of bar room gossip.  Gives the 'conspiracy theory' nutjobs meaning to their lives I suppose.


        • Cheese Face says:

          You don't give up do you? Because of the rampant corruption and complete lack of morals that some of our civil servants have. Or does that not exist in our little island paradise, or perhaps its just us "nutjobs" that see it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, very thick, Cheese Face. You just can't think there can be any explanation but your own one based, of course, on your close scientic examination of all the evidence rather than bar room gossip.

      • Cheese Face says:

        "Actually, very thick, Cheese Face. You just can't think there can be any explanation but your own one based, of course, on your close scientic examination of all the evidence rather than bar room gossip."

        You are of course entitled to your opinion, as am I. But based on previous investigations on these islands, I'll take my fairly reliable "bar room gossip" over your "scientific evidence" (I'm assume that's what you meant) on this one.