Monday, December 19, 2005

Seaplane Crashes in Miami

Today my daughter and nephew (visiting from out of town) were at South Beach in Miami and had just left moments before the plane crashed. So thankful they left when they did. As tragic as it is, it could have been worse if it would have crashed into one of the restaurants near there or other businesses. It is very sad and our prayers are with the families.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- A seaplane carrying 20 people crashed into the water within sight of this city's high-rises Monday, killing 19 people, authorities said. The other person has not been found. Witnesses said the plane exploded in the air. [more] From our local TV station.

The Coast Guard reported that there were 20 on board the Chalk's Ocean Airways plane, 18 passengers and two crewmembers, and that one person was still missing but 19 bodies had been recovered. Full Story

Chalk's Ocean Airways flies between Miami and the Bahamas, using planes that take off and land on the water. Chalk's aircraft have been featured in TV shows such as "Miami Vice." Its seaplanes take off in view of the port and the multimillion-dollar homes that dot islands in the bay.
Founded by Arthur "Pappy" Chalk in 1919, the airline thrived during Prohibition, taking bootleggers, their customers and customs agents to Bimini. According to the airline, its most famous regular passenger was Ernest Hemingway, who flew to Bimini to go big-game fishing.
One of its planes was hijacked to Cuba in 1974 and the company has since had a policy of not carrying enough fuel to get to Havana.
Two years later, the airline was sold to Resorts International, which owned properties on Paradise Island. Donald Trump bought it in 1988 and sold it a few months later to Merv Griffin. The owner as of 1995 was Seth Atwood of United Capital Corporation of Illinois/Atwood Enterprises.
According to its Web site, Chalk's operates 17-passenger Turbine Mallards.

A live News conference justed ended minutes ago. They have not found the one person still missing. There were 3 infants on board. The seaplane was built in 1947.
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