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St. Croix’s Hummingbird Air Suspends Operations After Two Crash Landings in Four Months

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FREDERIKSTED – Hummingbird Air based out of the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix has suspended its operations here following the crash-landing of one of its three Beech C99s at St. Lucia’s Vigie Airport earlier this month, the second such incident to have occurred within the last four months.

“The company has launched an internal investigation to determine the cause of this incident,” Airline President Samuel Raphael said. “Hummingbird Air has taken the decision to cancel all passenger flights until further notice. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.”

The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCA) has also launched its own investigation into the incidents, the first of which occurred in August when one of the twinprop’s landing gear buckled on touch down in Barbuda.

Hummingbird Air currently specializes in charter flights serving St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, the Cyril E. King International Airport in St. Thomas, Beef Island in the British Virgin Islands, Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten, the Dominica Canefield Airport, Vance W. Amory Aiport in Nevis and Robert L. Bradshaw Airport in St. Kitts.

However, the company had planned to enter the scheduled services market after it secured Part 135 certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last month.

Hummingbird Air crash landed in St. Lucia on November 8. One of its planes crashed landed at Barbuda Codrington Airport on August 17.

Meanwhile, a customer of Hummingbird Air on St. Thomas said that she has been reporting to the Cyril E. King International Airport since Thursday for a refund of a cancelled flight to Dominica in December, but has been repeatedly told by employees that the company has a limited amount of cash each day to pay refunds on a first-come, first-served basis.

“They tell you they will call, (then) no call and the guys are rude on top of it,” Julianna Williams said on Facebook. “Hummingbird Air this is ridiculous I paid you my money, hard earned cash and I want my money.It’s been five days and I can’t receive one dollar back from Hummingbird, something needs to be done.”

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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