Passengers aboard a Fly Montserrat plane praised their female pilot for landing the aircraft safely after it developed a mechanical issue mid-flight en-route to the V.C Bird international airport on the Northern Caribbean Island of Antigua.
According to the Antigua Observer, the plane’s engine reportedly “blew out”, while en route from Montserrat.
During the flight, passengers noticed oil leaking from one of the engines of the Britten-Norman BN-2A-26 Islander aircraft and Captain Jamilla Jeffrey.
Information from the Antigua and Barbuda Fire Department is that around 9.30 this morning, an emergency was declared while in flight and Antigua emergency services responded in advance. Doctors at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre were also put on alert.
“Maybe five to ten minutes after we took off, we could see the oil coming out of the right side of the engine. After the oil came out, you could see flames. Then all of a sudden you heard the plane idling,” a woman, who was on the flight, told ZJB Radio in Montserrat.
In an interview with ZJB Radio, Captain Nigel Harris, FlyMontserrat’s Managing Director, commended Jeffrey, who is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, for effectively responding the emergency in accordance with her training, Loop Caribbean reported.
There were no reports of injury.
This is not the first time that planes belonging to Fly Montserrat have had mishaps.
On April 16, 2011, a Fly Montserrat plane’s right brake malfunctioned after landing at Osborne Airport, and the pilot was forced to apply the left brake and veer off into the grass to avoid the end of the runway. There were no injuries.
On October 7, 2012, a Fly Montserrat flight from Antigua to Montserrat crashed shortly after takeoff from V.C. Bird International. Three of the four passengers were killed, including the pilot. An investigation revealed the presence of water in the fuel line.
Ernesto is a senior journalist with the St. Vincent Times. Having worked in the media for 16 years, he focuses on local and international issues. He has written for the New York Times and reported for the BBC during the La Soufriere eruptions of 2021.