A small plane ran off the Vigie airport runway just before 11am on Wednesday April 13. The fire service, stationed at the airport, responded to the crash immediately and the pilot was taken out unharmed.
The aircraft’s pilot, Silvanus Ernest was enroute to St Lucia from Barbados when trouble hit. Upon his arrival into aerodrome, he realized his landing gear was faulty. He attempted to test land the plane three times before finally landing on the fourth. While landing the craft, although the landing gear deployed, the left landing gear did not engage properly causing him to veer into the airport fence near Nelson Mandela Drive (the side of the airport facing the water.)
This is not Ernest’s first crash with a small craft.
The St Lucia Air and Seaports Authority held a press briefing following the incident where they commended their emergency response team and assured that the few hours the airport was out of commission did not severely impact passengers or carriers. However, this incident did raise questions about the location of the airport given its close proximity to a primary school and fuel station. SLASPA General Manager Sean Mathews assured an assessment was well underway and the public will be informed as to the recommendations of the organisation and future plans for the George F. L. Charles Airport.
The plane was towed away and the fence repaired. Operations at the airport resumed at 3:30pm.
See Saturday’s STAR for exclusive photos and details about the incident!