A Bahamasair aircraft carrying regional government officials including Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister and CARICOM Chairman Allen Chastanet “had to make a ‘sudden drop in altitude’ while en route to Abaco to avoid a mid-air collision,” The Tribune has reported.
According to the local media report, Chastanet and other dignitaries including Bahamian Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis were headed to Abaco on Friday to assess hurricane recovery and relief efforts on that island when the incident occurred.
Chastanet and Minnis were accompanied by Turks and Caicos Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson; CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRoque; CDEMA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency) Executive Director Ronald Jackson and other officials.
According to the Tribune, “the pilot explained the drop in altitude over the aircraft’s intercom was due to the Bahamasair aircraft having to avoid another aircraft that refused to respond”.
“We were all very fortunate that nothing more serious happened but this is a good example of why temporary air restrictions were put in place to allow only emergency and relief flights in the Abaco and Grand Bahama areas,” the report quoted Prime Minister Minnis as saying.
The Tribune has reported “that the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority has restricted air space over Grand Bahama and the Abacos. Only aircraft providing emergency and humanitarian relief authorised by Civil Aviation are permitted to fly in the restricted airspace”.