ECCAA Aviation Appoints Temporary Head

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ECCAA Aviation Appoints Temporary Head

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Feb 13, 2010 ... 38291.html

ECCAA Aviation Appoints Temporary Head
Saturday, 13 February 2010

Donald McPhail has been appointed interim director general of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority for six months. The board of directors met in an emergency meeting to make the appointment, as the search continues for Director General Rosemond James and Director of Flight Safety Gregory Mc Alpin, who are still missing in Haiti.

The Directorate released the following timeline in connection with the search:

On January 12, both men travelled to Haiti to attend a meeting of the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS). They checked in to the Hotel Montana and later that afternoon, the hotel and much of Haiti’s capital, Port Au Prince, was destroyed by the earthquake which we now know has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

Initial reports from other delegates who had traveled to Haiti to attend the same meeting indicated that Messrs James and Mc Alpin were safe. The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) continued to monitor the situation and in light of the existing conditions in Haiti, began to make efforts to transport Messrs James and Mc Alpin from Haiti.

During the afternoon of the 13th January 2010, it was learned that all the other delegates who had traveled to Haiti for the meeting were at the Port au Prince Airport awaiting a flight to leave Haiti but Mr. James and Mr. McAlpin were not with the group and could not be accounted for.

At that point we found it necessary to do more and directed our efforts towards search and rescue as opposed to just organizing transportation for their. It soon became evident that no direct attempt was being made by any agencies in Haiti, to find our two colleagues, that all countries involved in the search and rescue operations in Haiti were concerned with rescuing their own citizens and that no resources were directed towards finding Mr. James and Mr. Alpin.

The ECCAA therefore decided to organize a team to travel to Haiti for a period of up to one week, during which it was expected that Mr. James and Mr. McAlpin would be rescued and brought back to Antigua. The Team comprised three members of the Royal Grenada Police Force who had previously served in Haiti under the UN Peacekeeping Mission, and two members of ECCAA’s staff who were chosen from a list of volunteers.

On 17th January 2010 we made our first attempt to send our team to Haiti. However despite meeting all the requirements to land at the Port au Prince Airport, the aircraft was not allowed to land.

On our second attempt on 19th January 2010 our Team landed at Port au Prince and immediately began its search and rescue mission which continued until Monday 8th February 2010 although the Team was scheduled to depart Haiti on 26th January 2010.

During the ensuing 21 days, the Team conducted investigations, carried out searches, made enquiries and checks in its efforts to find Mr. James and Mr. Mc Alpin. The team visited all hospitals, clinics and other centres where survivors from the Hotel Montana site were taken for medical attention, inspected human remains found at the Hotel Montana site and closely monitored the operations at the site of the Hotel Montana On 3rd February 2010, changes in the modus operandi at the Hotel Montana site caused significant limitations and restrictions to the Team’s activities.

As at that date, the Team’s operations were limited to requesting for and receiving of information only. As a result, the Team’s continued presence in Haiti no longer offered the advantages it previously did. Arrangements were therefore made for the Team’s departure and for the work to be continued by two separate entities in Haiti, both of which are authorized to receive information for and on behalf of the ECCAA and the affected families of Mr. James and Mr. Mc Alpin.

The Team left Haiti before Messrs James and McAlpin could be accounted for; however we have not abandoned our efforts to locate our colleagues. ECCAA has arranged with the Haitian Civil Aviation Authority (OFNAC) to liaise with the United Nations and United States authorities on our behalf in this matter as the search and rescue/recovery operation continues. The site of the Hotel Montana is now a security restricted zone and only persons directly involved in the search and rescue/recovery operations are allowed to access the area. We are therefore confident that our interests and those of the affected families will be adequately represented in Haiti.

In light of the situation, the Board of Directors of the ECCAA met in emergency and appointed Mr. Donald McPhail, the Director of Air Navigation Services Acting Director General of the ECCAA for a period of six months.

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