The most controversial and riveting story in Bahamas in November was about Captain Byron Ferguson-shortly after his aircraft left Palm Beach airport, he encountered mechanical issues.
He crash landed approximately 2 miles from Nirvana beach, and repeatedly called for help but there was no emergency team on ground.
Several reports indicate Bahamas aviation authority decided to tarry for daylight to begin rescue operations; they didn’t possess the required gears for rescue operations they claimed.
Family members, friends and others who had gathered near the crash site, were ordered to leave the area, because the search was called off. They were devastated but returned at day break.
The Fergusons waited painstakingly for 72 hours, hoping state authorities would contact them about Byron-they didn’t. So they stormed the media, online and offline demanding answers to questions that continue to trouble the small island nation.
Who authorized that the search be called off before it started?
How could the search and rescue team identify the spot the plane went down, and then return hours later and begin a wild goose chase?
Byron had a map of Bahamas on his hand-he loved his country and was the Island’s unofficial ambassador wherever he flew- Africa , Europe, America, Asia.
But when it mattered most, his country’s broken and lethargic air and safety system let him down.
Two weeks after the tragic incident, Bahamas’ aviation authorities were yet to provide a clear cut direction into investigations leading to the air accident.
On Thursday the 15th of November, volunteers organized by the founder of an online support Gina Knowles took only 40 minutes to find parts of the plane that was being flown by the missing pilot.
The incident showed the ugly underbelly of governance in Nassau- last week national security defence minister Marvin Dames defended law enforcement’s response to the incident incredibly saying that the pilot had no flight plan.
Nearly 6,000 people signed an online petition calling for the resignation of Mr Dames within days.
In his first official statement, Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis ordered a full review of protocols, procedures and agencies involved in air accident response and investigations in the country – “including any systemic or structural problems” – only a small consolation for the Fergusons in a world where everything appear to be happening in slow motion.
Byron’s wife, Anya has setup a GoFundMe account to continue the recovery. It’s now believed that the hull of the plane is at the depths of the ocean where divers cannot reach-they’d have to hire unmanned probes which cost a fortune.
On Sunday, Nov 11, Agnes Ferguson, Byron’s mum wrote on Facebook: “It’s been a bittersweet day for the Ferguson’s as my beloved husband, Roscoe, marks another milestone.
As his special birthday gift, we were scheduled to depart for South Africa today, along with our missing son, Captain Byron Quinn Ferguson..
Byron, went missing following a plane crash on Thursday night.
However, instead of the trip, the family hopes that this birthday will result in the location of Byron, erasing all the unhappiness being experienced”
With time passing away, family and friends hopes look grim and ebbing away, but they want closure and the government’s investigation and review mechanism completely revamped.