Four Tourists Die in Bahamas Plane Crash After Reporting 'Engine Problems'
Four American tourists died when their single-prop plane crashed into the sea near The Bahamas on Sunday, according to several news reports.
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The pilot was identified by an Indiana television station as a businessman from outside Indianapolis. The other three passengers, a man and two women, have not been identified yet. But the plane, a Cirrus 22, was registered in the United States, the Bahamas Tribune reported.
"The visitors would have been here for several days now. They had been to other islands, I am told, and they were taking a look at the island to see the beauty of it. And to lose their lives tragically is just something that would cause all of us to pause and say a prayer for them and their families," the Bahamian tourism minister, Obie Wilchcombe, told the Bahamas Tribune.
According to WISHTV.com, the pilot was Tony Wishart, of Fishers, Ind. The plane was registered to an Indiana aviation company and built less than 10 years ago, according to FAA records.
Officials have not released a cause of the crash yet. But Wishart reportedly radioed that the plane was "experiencing some engine problems" before it fell into the ocean seven miles off the coast of Grand Bahama and broke into pieces. Photos published by the Daily Mail show the crumpled plane and a stretcher carrying a body into the back of a hearse.
The plane reportedly took off from Grand Bahama International Airport and was scheduled to return to the airport later. A police official said they crashed just minutes after takeoff.
This is the fourth fatal crash of a Cirrus SR22 since the beginning of this year, according to data from the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, which tracks aircraft accidents and incidents. Seventeen people died last year flying in the popular plane, a five-seat, single-propeller, fixed-wing craft. According to a 2012 review from Aviation Consumer, the Cirrus model has an average safety rate compared to similar general-aviation craft.
It was the second fatal crash reported this month in NTSB data. On Nov. 1, a Beech C90 went down in Arkansas, killing both people on board.
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