Aviation authorities reviewing plane’s maintenance records

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – As authorities advance their probe into the Nov. 8 plane crash in waters off western New Providence involving missing pilot Byron Ferguson, Kendal Dorsett Jr, the operations investigator for the Air Accident Investigation Department (AAID), said investigators were reviewing the maintenance records of the downed aircraft.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Dorsett confirmed the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) issued the maintenance records of the U.S.-registered Piper Aztec plane.

He said investigators were also reviewing weather reports on the night of the crash.

“That process is ongoing,” Dorsett said.

“We have the weather [report]. We got a response from the National Transportation Safety Board, so we have that in our possession and those from our local MET Department.

“…We have also started the process to review maintenance information.”

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s (RBDF) search and recovery effort is ongoing,

RBDF Commander Shone Pinder said Monday that while two third of the organization’s assets were still involved in the search, those efforts were not being conducted at the same “pace that existed a few days ago”.

Divers searches were conducted Monday.

Pinder was unable to confirm when the next dive operation was scheduled.

According to authorities, Air Traffic Control lost radar contact with the six-seater aircraft flown by Ferguson after he reported that he was experiencing difficulties.

The plane plunged into the sea two nautical miles from the airfield at Lynden Pindling International Airport.

Nearly two weeks ago, volunteers and civilian divers discovered debris believed to be from the aircraft in waters near the crash area, around a quarter of a mile off Nirvana Beach.

Asked if that debris was from the downed aircraft, Dorsett said while investigators were not able to say definitively at this time, all indications suggest so.

“The components aren’t as such where we could officially confirm that,” he said.

“We haven’t gotten any major components that would have any serial numbers or identification numbers where we can go back and trace. Until we have some concrete information as far as that, we can’t confirm, even though all indications [say] yes, [those are] the components of the aircraft.”

Dorsett also confirmed investigators have compiled a list of all debris found to date, but he said that information will not be released until the appropriate time.

In the days following the crash, the RBDF was widely criticized for its handling of the search efforts.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has promised a full review.

Meanwhile, the Ferguson family continues to search for the aircraft.

A GoFundMe page, titled ‘Bring Byron Home’ has raised $25,000.

The family hopes to hire certified deep-sea divers and specialized deep-sea-dive equipment assist with the recovery effort.

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