(VI CONSORTIUM) — A plane crash near the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on Thursday night left all five occupants of the aircraft dead, The Consortium can confirm.
Police Commissioner Delroy Richards told The Consortium that the aircraft, a private chartered plane, took off from the St. Croix airport and soon after starting experiencing engine problems, with flames coming from one of its two engines. The pilot circled back and attempted to land at the airport, but the plane crashed in a field area near the runway, leaving all occupants, including the pilot, dead, Mr. Richards said.
The commissioner said the plane was a Baron-branded aircraft.
David Goodrich, commander of St. Croix Rescue’s extrication team, who was on the scene of the incident, told The Consortium that by the time they arrived on the scene, there was nothing they could do.
The plane included one member of the Stylee Band, however The Consortium will withhold the member’s name because next of kin notification still needs to occur.
The V.I.P.D. cordoned off the east and west entrances of the airport, only allowing in first responders. A medical examiner vehicle was spotted making its way to the scene, and a first responder at the crash site told this publication that emergency personnel were still investigating the incident at about 11:06 p.m. on Thursday.
The tragedy has cast a cloud of sadness over the territory, as the Stylee Band, currently one of the territory’s premier groups, is known to help carry the festival season, especially their performances during the Festival Village, j’ouvert morning and the parades.
And the news of the crash and the plane’s high-profile occupant sent a shock through social media, with thousands already mourning the unfortunate occurrence.