The four survivors from the Star Marianas plane that crashed yesterday morning on Tinian are in critical condition and are being airlifted to the Commonwealth Health Center.
U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Commander Morgan Roper confirmed to Saipan Tribune that four of the seven people onboard the plane indeed survived the crash but are in critical condition. The three others, however, Roper said are unresponsive. She didn’t say if the pilot is among the survivors en route to CHC.
Roper said the crash site is east of the Voices of America Tower on Tinian.
Search and rescue effort
A total of three boats and a U.S. Navy helicopter have joined the search and rescue effort for a Star Marianas plane that went missing after departing from Tinian early this morning.
Special Assistant for Homeland Security and Emergency Management Marvin Seman said a U.S. Navy helicopter as well as the Department of Public Safety’s Zodiac boat, a boat from the Commonwealth Ports Authority, and another boat from the Division of Environmental Quality are currently combing the waters between Saipan and Tinian for the missing airplane.
He said, all in all, 57 personnel from various government and federal agencies on both Saipan and Tinian are involved in the search and rescue effort.
Seman also confirmed that the missing plane had a total of six passengers onboard plus the pilot. He didn’t provide details whether the passengers were tourists or residents and how many adults and children were onboard. Seman also didn’t identify the name of the pilot.
“[We will conduct] the search until we find it (the plane). We have about three days. Unless we have evidence that it went down we will continue. Normally its 72 hours and after that it will become a [recovery effort],” said Seman.
Gov. Eloy S. Inos was also present at the command center this morning along with Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider, DPS Commissioner James C. Deleon Guerrero, CPA acting executive director Maryann Lizama, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Ken McCain, and other officials.
Inos was supposed to speak during the impromptu press conference, but according to press secretary Angel Demapan, he begged off from making comments because of the sketchy informing about the lost plane.
Star Marianas confirms plane is theirs
Meanwhile, Star Marianas confirmed through a media release early this morning that the missing plane, a Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six aircraft, is indeed theirs.
“At approximately 3:15am local time on October 6, 2013 a Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six aircraft being operated by Star Marianas Air, Inc. which had departed from West Tinian Airport (Airport ID: PGWT) at 2:41am enroute to Saipan International Airport (Airport ID: PGSN) was reported as having been overdue for arrival. The plane was carrying six passengers and one pilot. Search and rescue efforts were initiated and are ongoing,” the release from Star Marianas’ Shaun Christian stated.