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Jun 8, 2015

…Says Coastguard Rescue Details Not Entirely Accurate

Rogiers’ version of the subsequent rescue contrasts starkly with that of the coast guard.  They reported that not only was the operation successful but that their response time was well under a half hour, having deployed assets from Calabash Caye.  According to Rogiers, that account is not entirely accurate.

 

Isani Cayetano

“I was made to understand via the coast guard representative that the response time between the park rangers from the Audubon who were stationed on Lighthouse Reef and the assets from the Belize National Coast Guard were deployed into the area almost immediately and it was only a matter of minutes before they were able to reach you guys and successfully rescue you.  This is questionable based on the accounts that you have provided.  Can you go into some details as to what transpired from that point onward?”

 

Arthur Rogiers

Via Skype: Arthur Rogiers, Crash Survivor

“Right.  That’s not entirely true.  There may be some truth in terms of when things were deployed but we did not encounter those people in any way that was minutes after the crash.  There was no short amount of time in which we saw anybody.  We were out there by ourselves in the middle of nowhere swimming for at least an hour.  What happened was, after we all checked ourselves to make sure that we were fine, that we were all safely out of the aircraft, that was the big deal or the end of phase one of this ordeal because we knew we were going to crash, we crashed, we had to get out.  Finally, we’re out.  Okay, everybody’s fine, alright how do we get help? We had to swim for those three miles and that took us, it took us at least an hour.  It might have been a little bit more but it definitely wasn’t minutes and it definitely wasn’t twenty minutes.  And the first people who came to get us when we finally got to the island was not the coastguard but it was the park rangers.  The park rangers had a boat and we waved them down.  They eventually came within maybe three or four minutes time, they came over and picked us up off the beach.  The pilot explained to them what happened and they had some quick back and forth.  They helped us put our things in the boat and took us to their little station that they had and that was our first chance to collect ourselves and to just reflect like wow, like this is something that happened.”

 

As we reported on Friday, the Department of Civil Aviation is looking into the matter and is working with Tropic Air and CESSNA to determine what went wrong.

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