Questions Surround Missing Aircraft In Caribbean
A Britten-Norman Islander took off from the Dominican Republic on Monday afternoon, with 12 people on board bound for New York, but disappeared from radar 35 minutes later after sending an emergency signal, The Associated Press reported this week. Six airplanes, two helicopters, and a ship from the U.S. Coast Guard searched the seas near the Turks and Caicos Islands for the aircraft, but no sign had been found of the Islander as of late Wednesday afternoon. "The weather was really difficult to search in last night," Coast Guard Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson told Reuters on Tuesday. "We had 6- to 8-foot seas, lots of whitecaps and next to zero visibility. It's been clearing up but the seas are still a little rough." On Tuesday, the AP reported that aviation officials were giving conflicting reports regarding the airplane's origin and destination, and the registered owner said the airplane had been stolen. It was also unclear whether the airplane had landed in the Turks and Caicos Islands prior to its disappearance. "There's still a lot of unanswered questions here," FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told the AP. Questions also were raised about the pilot's credentials; one report said the pilot had only a student license.