Local officials still tight lipped about Virgin


Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and infrastructure Minister Phillip J Pierre with their report card on the trough. It included nothing on the radar confusion or on the Virgin Atlantic mishap.

Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and infrastructure Minister Phillip J Pierre with their report card on the trough. It included nothing on the radar confusion or on the Virgin Atlantic mishap.

Terror as Virgin jet avoids disaster landing on flooded runway in dark, storm-hit St Lucia,” is how the UK Express titled its story about the bumpy and near disastrous landing of a Virgin flight here on Christmas Eve.

In the December 28 issue of the STAR we questioned the veracity of claims by NEMO that a radar system in Martinique was down resulting in the lack of forecasting of the Christmas Eve trough that wreaked havoc across the island. That claim has since been found to be untrue based on our enquiries with Met officials in Martinique. We also questioned whether someone was asleep at the wheel, allowing a Virgin Atlantic Airbus to land on an already flooded Hewannora Airport at about 7:30 pm that same day. According to our investigations, the plane which was coming in from Tobago, landed on a runway already filled with  water, mud and debris as a result of heavy rains which the island experienced that day. A nearby river had also burst its banks bringing with it more deluge.

Pilots of the Virgin Atlantic jet we have since learnt, were reportedly given no warning of the fact that the runway was littered with water and debris. The result;the Airbus A330 sustained substantial damage to its landing gear and fuselage as it touched down.

The STAR has since learnt that an investigation has now been launched to determined exactly what happened, however both SLASPA and tourism officials here have been mum on the matter. During a press conference last week held by prime minister Kenny Anthony, we attempted to solicit a statement from tourism minister Lorne Theophilus on what exactly happened and who was liable. But before the minister could respond prime minister Anthony rushed in; “we are not going to make a statement about that.” “Does that mean there will be no information forthcoming about this matter,” I persisted. “All I am saying is at this time we are not prepared to say anything on this matter and once there are questions about liability this becomes a very sensitive issue, “ said the prime minister. Efforts to get an official statement from SLASPA which manages the affairs of the island’s air and sea-ports have also been futile so too were efforts to reach the director of tourism. However the STAR has learnt that there may be fallouts from the Virgin mishap which could have implications for the local tourism industry.

Since the incident, the Virgin airbus has been sitting on the tarmac at Hewannorra in Vieux Fort since the airport does not have any hangars or repair facilities to accommodate such aircraft.

Flight VS-98 from Tobago to Saint Lucia and then on to London Gatwick was making its final approach to St Lucia on Christmas Eve with a short stop-off to pick up extra passengers. It was quite a bumpy landing for the crew and passengers.  The damage the plane incurred was enough to force Virgin to cancel the final leg of the flight to Gatwick, leaving passengers stranded here.      The effects of the trough also saw a number of other regional and international flights being cancelled-the airport remained closed until Boxing Day December 26.

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7 Responses to Local officials still tight lipped about Virgin

  1. beedie baba says:

    We could be rich like Saudi Arabia but the fool remains a malawahae. Maybe it’s a good thing that oil has not been discovered, because the island would be ruined with idiots who hate the idea of nature, they would cement the entire island , even the beaches.

  2. SLU # 1 says:

    You are one of the very few people who voice concern on this matter which has far-reaching, and costly implications for St. Lucia. This issue is tearing me up inside and fills me with rage for the current PM who’s responsible for this. It’s so sad that he, holding a PHD in Constitutional Law, couldn’t simply abide by the law of the land. There may or may not be Oil in the Sea bed surrounding SLU, but can you imagine if there is, and we’ve been wasting time instead of concentrating efforts at finding it ? What a waste this PM and his Labour Party is !! Thank you though for discussing this.

  3. beedie baba says:

    Pips no matter how hard you try to appear smart, your eyes betray a void between your ears, not even the big glasses can help you look educated. What a horror that we rely on brain dead people to run the country. They have bad taste in clothes and they think that welfare is a job making exercise. If there were a God, please help us.

  4. beedie baba says:

    Shabin Mugabe is no different to his father in Zimbabwe, only he turned out red, but they are both famous for ruining economies, land and countries, now you can add jets. You just have to look at how this man walks around in wrinkled long sleeve shirts with his 9 month ponce suspending the large shirt which won’t remain tucked in any pants regardless of the belt. I left St. Lucia years ago because Laba made life hell for doing business, now it’s worse than hell.

  5. joe says:

    Typical of the SLP. Withhold information. Grynsburg, Rochamel, NCA. Even when public knowledge, we are given no explanation. Should not someone explain or be in court for Grynsburg?
    Or we are told to keep quiet because it is under litigation or being examined. The SLP is a totalitarian statist party and we must just shut up.
    Why no press questions about Grynsburg and why no SLP politcians are in jail or in court answering why Cabinet or Parliment or the GG were NOT made aware of the oil exploration deal?

  6. Pavan Gavaskar says:

    repercussions when basic rules are violated.

  7. Pavan Gavaskar says:

    I first viewed photos of the damaged aircraft on a better known Facebook site from St. Lucia. My initial thought was that someone’s analytical skills are lacking…big time. Strange enough, I was not surprised to see the photo of the damaged craft. I have grown accustomed to seeing results of unsafe acts emanating from home. There is a culture that has developed especially over the last three decades where safety and maintenance have taken backseats to other pressing issues like fun and instantaneous result. Sadly, we are seeing the consequences of unsafe acts everyday, resulting in injury and unnecessary costs. My New Year wish is for St. Lucians to think about safety, and also its…

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