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The morning American Eagle flight taxis for takeoff behind the wreck

Photos by
Marc van Wijk

The first airplane crash at Bonaire's Flamingo Airport in recent memory resulted in the complete loss of the aircraft but the pilot walked away. Just before midnight on Monday, November 3, the Flamingo Field tower received an emergency message from the pilot, Hans van Gijn, 57, flying aircraft registration number, N630HA, a Mitsubishi MU-2 twin-engine turboprop, reporting engine problems and that ditching in the sea was a possibility. The plane was on a final approach to Bonaire's airport.
It had departed Bonaire earlier in the day to pick up a medical patient in Aruba for transport to Baranquilla, Colombia. After dropping off the patient and a male nurse in Baranquilla, the plane headed back to Bonaire.  Minutes before it was due to land both engines stopped. The powerless plane glided over the shoreline and almost made it to the runway. A fellow pilot, interviewed by
The Reporter, who was familiar with the aircraft said, "If the plane had been just a couple of hundred feet higher, it would have made it."
It appeared that the undercarriage of the plane snagged on the cyclone fence bordering the shore road and flipped over. There was no fire. The plane was completely mangled except for the passenger compartment. From the wreckage it appeared that the pilot exited through the cockpit door.
The pilot is BonairExel Airline's maintenance manager but was not flying on company business. The fact that there was no fire is an indication that the plane may have run out of fuel. The shore road between Belnem and the airport entrance was closed on Tuesday while investigation and cleanup were underway. The aircraft had a US registry so investigations by the FAA as well as local authorities are required. 

           Aircraft Details:
Mitsubishi MU-2  turboprop
Passengers: 8
Cargo: 374 lbs (170 kg)
Range: 1,460 nm (2,700 km)
Speed: 350 mph (600 km/hr)


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