Caravan Hits Car On Takeoff

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A Tropic Air Cessna Caravan carrying the acting Prime Minister of Belize, Patrick Faber, Agriculture Minister Godwin Hulse and five other passengers clipped a car on takeoff from Placencia Municipal Airport and ended up in the water at the end of the runway Friday. No one was hurt in the incident, which has sparked an investigation into the safety of the airport. A public road runs perpendicular to the end of the runway but barriers are supposed to block the threshold when the strip is in use. Some witnesses interviewed by local media said at least one of the barriers was raised at the time of the mishap. The Belize government said in a release the barrier was down but the car got around it.

However the car ended up there, the Caravan’s left main gear leg hit the passenger door of the Subaru and it slowed the aircraft to the point where the pilot opted for the water, according to a statement from the airline. The airline said it is working with authorities to determine “what measures need to be implemented immediately to prevent another such occurrence. The plane was taking the politicians on government business to Punta Gorda, about 40 miles south. Faber is filling in for full-time Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who is in Houston on vacation.

Comments (3)

This one is a head-scratcher. I've flown in and out of Placencia since 1992. It's one of the funkiest airports on the planet and one of the most fun to fly into. The southwest half of the runway is surrounded by water, just off the northeast end there's a road crossing it right on the edge of the beach. Placencia is on a very long (about 30 miles or so), narrow, peninsula. At the point of the runway it is only a few hundred yards wide so much of the runway is built on fill out into the water away from the ocean.
The runway is plenty long for a Cessna 208, even in the tropic heat of Belize. The question is why the 208 was so low at the end of the runway that it would even be close to a car? (Until recently, there was no barrier to prevent vehicles from driving on the road and they never stopped for aircraft operations as there was no need.) Was the engine not making power? Did the pilot get lazy and not rotate at the appropriate speed and waste runway. Did the pilot not use all of the runway? Did the pilot take her or his time bringing the power up on takeoff?
This one just doesn't make sense as a heavily loaded 208 should be at least 15 or 20 feet above the roadway, even on a calm day - which doesn't happen often at Placencia.
Rick Durden

Posted by: Rick Durden | November 19, 2017 9:51 PM    Report this comment

Or maybe started takeoff roll at midfield to avoid a long taxi to the far end of the runway? Look at the layout and see if you would be tempted.

Posted by: Larry Gregory | November 20, 2017 7:01 AM    Report this comment

I love that someone took a picture, and that everyone it it looks like they are just on a holiday swim.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | November 20, 2017 10:58 AM    Report this comment

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