Plane crash in Haiti | More frequent flights

The crash that killed 6 people on Wednesday in Carrefour is part of a context where the safety of travel around the capital is becoming a concern.

Posted at 8:00 a.m.

Etienne Cote-Paluck
special collaboration

(Carrefour, Haiti) Flights between Port-au-Prince and Jacmel, a small town on Haiti’s south coast, have become more frequent since last year. Why ? Because the national road, at the southwest exit of the Haitian capital, is partly blocked by armed groups who often ransom or kidnap passers-by.

Alternative routes, including dirt roads in the mountains, are multiplying. But those who can afford it prefer the plane, since these roads are difficult to pass.

On Wednesday, a small plane crashed minutes after taking off from Port-au-Prince airport, en route to Jacmel. The crash took place in the southwestern suburbs of the capital, in the town of Carrefour, around 3:35 p.m. The Dominican pilot and the four passengers, including the Quebecer Gamaniel Valcin, perished. At least one other person died on the ground when the aircraft attempted an emergency landing on the National Road noh 2.


The injured pilot had to be transported by motorbike on one of these difficult roads – especially in the rainy season – before reaching the capital. “I tried to save the pilot, he was all unbalanced,” said Divisional Inspector Yves Beaudry yesterday, at the office of the Carrefour police station, which overlooks the street corner where the plane crashed. .

If he hadn’t hit the freight truck, he might have landed.

Yves Beaudry, inspector at the Carrefour police station office

The plane had first circled at low altitude over the area, said witnesses on the spot. It then attempted to land on the road, but one of its wings hit a lamppost. The wing tore off and the rest of the aircraft then struck the front of a pickup and a truck, which overturned with its load of soft drinks. The plane ended its route in the middle of a usually busy intersection.

“The four passengers died instantly,” said the policeman. He assisted the pilot, then still conscious, before he was transported to a hospital in the capital where he died. A motorcycle taxi driver passing by was also killed by the impact of the plane.

“When the plane came down, it came right at me,” said 26-year-old phone repairman Kendy Parfait, looking dejected. “I ran off. His stall of telephones, in front of which he was sitting at the time of the accident, was completely destroyed by the tail of the device. “I was in shock for 15 minutes,” he told The Press.

Nearby, a mango and pâté seller tells of having sprained her foot in her flight. She was sitting at her table yesterday, her right leg raised.


Gladis Joseph (right), mango and pâté merchant from Carrefour

“The pilot was right there in front of me, we immediately called for help,” said Gladis Joseph, 40, mother of four.

impassable roads

“The plane has become a must between Port-au-Prince and the entire south of the country,” testified Tania Laviades, a Canadian midwife who has been living in Jacmel for a few years. His maternal family is of Haitian origin.

The road from Martissant to enter Port-au-Prince is impassable because of armed gangs.

Tania Laviades

“So people who can afford it started flying more and more,” Laviades, during a telephone interview. A company has been offering scheduled flights twice a week for several months. And some owners of small private planes sometimes rent them to groups. »

The private plane that crashed on Wednesday belonged to the son of Jacmel’s most prominent businessman, Nicolas Khawly, according to Haitian media. The aircraft did not have a license to make commercial flights, revealed Thursday Radio-Télé Métropole, a media of Port-au-Prince.

Haitian civil aviation authorities have banned the flight of all private planes in Haiti while they complete an investigation into Wednesday’s crash, according to US media.

“If the road wasn’t blocked, this accident wouldn’t have happened,” said Kendy Parfait, looking at the empty place where his small street shop and dozens of telephones were. “I’m frustrated,” he said. I lost everything. I have no family to help me. I lost everything I had. »

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