Relatives of Anguillian Pilot Kirby Hodge and the passengers that were on board flight 5553Y-AZTEX are upset with the conflicting information they are being fed regarding the survival and search and rescue mission.
Saturday evening relatives of Captain Hodge and other Anguillians were rejoicing when they were told that all six persons on board the aircraft were found alive. Hours later their joy turned into sadness when they learnt that the search and rescue mission was called off due to the inclement weather conditions and that only one female passenger that was on board flight 5553Y–AZTEX that left St. Croix en route to St. Thomas early Saturday morning crashed was rescued.
The female survivor told rescue workers that all six of the passengers including her child exited the aircraft alive but they all got separated due to the bad weather conditions and high waves. Information from San Juan Towers now states that the search and rescue was called off because of inclement weather and darkness of the night.
Earlier on Saturday afternoon, information received from the Towers at PJIAE and Towers in Martinique stated that they were informed that all the passengers were found in a raft drifting while the pilot swam to a nearby key.
Late Saturday evening the information they received remained the same. However, information from St. Croix Airport states that only one female passenger was rescued and up to press time the other five passengers were not located including well known Pilot Kirby Hodge. The passenger that was rescued was taken to St. Croix while scores of family members of the victims and the pilot gathered at a beach in St. Thomas to see if the Coast Guard was going to show up with their loved ones.
Kirby Hodge is a well known pilot and businessman from Island Harbour Anguilla. He owns Rainbow International Airlines which is responsible for air evacuation within the region.
This latest crash came just one week after an aircraft crashed on the V.C. Bird International Airport in Antigua where three persons including the pilot lost their lives. (Source)