The weather conditions were perfect for flying and sounds of applause filled the small Coastal Air plane as it touched down on the runway at the Canefield Airport on Thursday morning.However the applause was interrupted shortly afterwards when the nine passengers aboard that aircraft received the announcement that struck fear instantly in them: “the plane can’t stop.”
“The pilot said it first and the passengers started to repeat it by shouting,” Silma Luke, a passenger from Salisbury told DNO.
She said the flight was good one.
“We had a very good flight to Dominica,” she stated. “When we reach I started clapping and afterward I heard somebody said the plane cannot stop. When I looked I saw it in the bush.”
She said When she heard that the plane could not stop, she was not frightened. “It did not bother me. I am a Christian, so it did not bother me. Some people were frightened,” she said.
She noted that she was at the back of the aircraft and did not see much of what was going on.
The incident has left Rosa Xavier, who was sitting next to her husband on the flight, afraid of flying in small planes.
“I was frightened,” she said. “It was frightening to see that me and my husband in that accident. I will be afraid to board small planes like that again. We are accustomed of flying on LIAT and other bigger planes.”
The small plane arrived in Dominica from St Croix and at the controls were a pilot and co pilot.
Speaking to Dominica News Online moments after the accident, Antoine Baptiste, applauded the pilot for his quick thinking.
“I was at the front with the pilot when we were about to land,” he stated. “He landed good but when it came to stop he said that he can’t stop .. he tried but the plane kept running and when he see that it was coming to the end of the runway, he tried to swing the plane back and then it hit the post and it stopped.”
Baptiste added that he did not panic but he became concerned when he noticed a container on the other side of the airport’s fence.
“I learned that in travelling to expect anything,” he stated. “It was a new experience for me and I thank God that we all are safe. Once you’re travelling, make up your mind it can be anything. I travelled today .. I told my friends I’m going to Dominica but only God knows.”
The left wing of the plane was extensively damaged.
Fire Officers, police officers and officials from the Dominica Air and Sea Port Authority (DASPA) all responded to the accident.
A full report is expected later on Thursday.