Four people, including two children, have been killed when a small aircraft crashed off the coast of a Caribbean island moments after takeoff.
The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF), confirmed on January 4, 2023, that a Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking took off from J.F. Mitchell Airport (BQU), Bequia, earlier that day but ran into difficulties, resulting in the plane crashing into the sea just off the coast of the island.
The plane was due to fly to Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) in St Lucia, around 30 minutes’ flight away from Bequia, which is part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Following the crash, local fisherman, divers and the island’s coast guard rushed to the scene to offer help.
The victims included the pilot and a family from the United States (US), namely Christian Klepser, 51, and his two daughters, Madita Klepser, 10, and Annik Klepser, 12.
All four bodies were recovered from the Bellanca Viking and taken to the Kingstown Mortuary on St Vincent.
“The RSVGPF expresses condolences to all who are negatively affected by this tragic incident. The RSVGPF will update the public as more information is gathered. Investigation into the matter continues,” local police said in a statement.
Regional media said that the plane was owned by a Bequia resident, and that the family arrived in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on December 26, 2023.
The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) is currently investigating the incident.