POLICE PROBE: Mystery surrounding Abaco plane crash continues as RBPF takes over investigations

POLICE PROBE: Mystery surrounding Abaco plane crash continues as RBPF takes over investigations
A Westwind N790JR aircraft.

AAIA to release report of findings up to point police take over

Police still unsure if any link between two deceased pilots and two men who reported plane stolen

NASSAU, BAHAMAS  — The Aircraft Accident Investigation Authority (AAIA) has officially turned over to the police its investigation into an aircraft that crashed in Treasure Cay, Abaco, last week, said AAIA Chief Investigator Delvin Major yesterday.

The plane crash that claimed the lives of two former marines — Lavan Paul and Jason Allen  — occurred shortly after take-off from the Treasure Cay airstrip on July 5.

The $300,000 aircraft was later reported stolen.

The aftermath of the tragic crash last week Monday.

Major said the AAIA will no longer have carriage of the matter and will produce a report detailing what was uncovered up to the point of the police report.

He said that report could be completed as early as the end of July.

Chief Superintendent Kenwood Taylor, officer in charge on Abaco, told Eyewitness News yesterday that police are still trying to piece together what took place on that fateful day.

Police said officers from the Marsh Harbour Police Station received a report of a 1984 white and brown trim Israel eight-seater plane, model 1124A and registration number N790JR, stolen from Treasure Cay Airport.

The plane was reported arriving in Treasure Cay on July 2 and was scheduled to depart on July 5 — last week Monday.

Taylor said the two pilots who reported the aircraft stolen are assisting police with the ongoing probe, though he could not advise whether they remain in the country.

He also could not indicate whether there is a known link between the young pilots who perished in the crash and the pilots who reported the plane missing.

Lavan Paul and Jason Allen, the two former marines who perished in the crash.

Taylor said police currently have no one in custody in connection with either aspect of the matter — the alleged theft or the crash.

“It’s a very sensitive investigation”, he said.

“…It’s a matter that needs to come to a conclusion and we are hoping to bring it to a conclusion as soon as possible.”

Initial reports from the AAIA revealed that the aircraft had challenges gaining altitude before taking off, which the authority believed contributed to the accident.

Additionally, reports revealed that the two young pilots did not have the necessary qualifications to fly the aircraft — with Allen merely being a student pilot and Paul only holding an airline transport license.

The remains of both pilots have been removed from the aircraft and flown to New Providence for autopsy.

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.