Police Chief: Reports of Seaplane Accident Highly Exaggerated

A mechanical issue occurred with a seaplane off St. Croix Wednesday but passengers and witnesses say initial reports make a very minor situation seem much worse than it was.

A 3:40 p.m. Seaborne aircraft issued a distress call and needed to be towed in. Five police officers, including Deputy Police Chief Edmund Walters, were returning to St. Croix from a VIPD consent decree hearing on St. Thomas.

Police Commissioner Delroy Richards said Wednesday evening that it would be a wild exaggeration to portray the situation as an emergency and reports of potential injuries were incorrect. Richards said he was on the Seaborne flight immediately after the one with the engine issue, saw it towed in and spoke with officers who were on the flight.

“The passengers really didn’t experience anything. The plane landed on the water like it is supposed to. But due to a problem with one prop it was towed into shore. There was no danger or anything that seemed wrong during the flight. And those planes can fly safely if one of the two engines fails,” Richards said.

Richards said he felt the more important story was that the consent decree hearing went very well.

“It was really good news … a milestone,” Richards said. “The judge said we made considerable progress.”