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...a sweatshop of moxie

Monday, December 19, 2005

Seaplane Down in South Beach!


Live shot via camera phone

PHOTO 1 -- Camera phone from NBC viewer.

PHOTO 2 -- Same shot, cleaned up by ABC News at 6:30 PM EST.

Awful news on the heels of the recent event of the unhinged passenger onboard a plane, being killed by Air Marshalls, comes word that a a seaplane has gone down in South Beach.

Shortly after 2:30 PM EST, a Chalk's seaplane, Flight 101, carrying 20 passengers, apparently a party of a large, extended family, has gone down in Government Cut, taking off of Watson's Island, but going down near Fisher Island, in the southernmost point of Miami Beach.

There was no flight plan filed, but word from local news channels here (of which I am watching all, on 3 television sets), is that they were headed towards Bimini.

This is a file photo of how that plane might've looked like on take-off.

The news is fluid, and as in the Mayhem at MIA! post, sometimes will be whisper rather than confirmation-ridden, but this is what we have heard so far.

A private seaplane company called "Chalks Airways", who operate 8 flights per day in the high season out from Ft. Lauderdale and Miami (destination Paradise Island and Bimini, daylight hours only), had one of their planes missing at 2:30 PM EST.

Witnesses said the plane went down extremely quickly.

Flying due east, just having reached the end of the rock jetty, of Government Cut, where the Port of Miami is located, the plane trailed a plume of grey smoke behind it, when suddenly the right wing broke off just as it was rounding off into the open ocean.

The Bahamian Consul General is on his way to the scene, and several relatives have now arrived at the locale, most of them understandably distraught, as they screamed the news into cell phones that their relatives where the ones inside the plane, to other family members.

The party of relatives I saw were varying shades of black or Afro-Caribbean, and since the Bahamian consul is on his way, this suggests the passengers included Bahamian nationals.

The plane, which can hold 30 passengers, had 20 passengers in the manifest (not 18 as reported in the first breakning news segments), including 3 children.

The bodies of 12 people have been recovered (updated below).

Originally, there was word from the Coast Guard that they had rescued 6 people.

Unknown if any children amongst them.

Channel 4 CBS immediately had to issue a retraction, as their producer said the same Coast Guard official called back to deny that as yet.

(No doubt, until all the family members had been appraised of the situation, lest anyone have false hope)

I will try to run over to the area, to see if I can get any live photographs. The scene, as shown on television, is barely 5 blocks away from me.

UPDATE: 20 aboard, 19, nineteen passengers' bodies recovered. NO SURVIVORS, NOW CONFIRMED. FBI, City of Miami-Beach, City of Miami, and Miami-Dade rescue all were at the scene of the tragedy, shortly after it was reported at 14:40 (they arrived at 14:42 EST). 17 passengers, 2 crew members. Tragic...

UPDATE: I stayed to mind the television newscasts, my mother went to see if she could take a photo for me. Poor thing. Because of the news crews, and the pandemonium, to take a few photos, the only one of which came out well I show below, she took an hour to return.

These are the Carnival Cruise line ships grouded until further notice. Imagination and Fascination. I believe there is also a Royal Caribbean cruise ship grounded behind them as well, ready to be given orders to leave by the US Coast Guard (after the FAA clear them, though the investigations may take a while, as they are equipped to work at night).

This is that same Government Cut in happier times, with a cruise ship leading out from it.

That is South Pointe condos and park, where so many witnesses were earlier.

UPDATE: Chalk Airways are the oldest continuously registered airliner in the world. This is their first downed plane with passengers in their history. A STERLING safety record. What a shame.

UPDATE: The Port of Miami has been officially closed for the night, so no cruise ships will be authorised to leave their docks. I suppose the passengers will have a credit issued them, or be given a substantial discount.

Unless something very noteworthy occurs, like the release of names or the manifest, this is my last post on the topic of the evening!


A Pack, Not a Herd


  • Very sad indeed. For many years, seeing those Chalks seaplanes take off and "land" has always been a beautiful sight for me!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Mon Dec 19, 06:39:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Thanks, Victoria, for the information and pictures. Jose is right, very sad, magnified by the time of year.
    How you got your mother to run photographer for you is testament to her love for you. Unless you're paying her. Even then.
    Did she get out of the car?

    By Blogger Paul, at Mon Dec 19, 11:01:00 pm GMT-5  

  • CNN has a video on their website, it's very chilling. It looks like one of the wings seperated from the plane and is ablaze as it plunges into the water.

    Thanks for being right on top of the action Vicky. You should be getting a finders fee for your scoops.:)

    By Blogger Renato, at Mon Dec 19, 11:16:00 pm GMT-5  

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