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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An internationally known pastor and his wife were two of nine people killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas.
According to Bahamian authorities the Lear 36 Executive Jet, which had taken off from Nassau at 4:07 p.m. on Sunday, went down in Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama.
Dr. Myles Munroe, leader of the Bahamas Faith Ministries, and his wife Ruth were on their way to the 2014 Global Leadership Forum. A post on Munroe’s Facebook page said that despite the tragedy the conference would go on because that “it’s what he would have wanted.”
Among the deceased was the couple’s daughter, Charisa, who was one of the seven others who perished with her parents.
Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie delivered the tragic news to the media.
“I’m shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic passing of Doctor Myles Munroe,” said Christie.
Here in South Florida, Dr. Munroe was well known at Jesus People Ministries Church International in Miami Gardens.
Pastor Richelle Williams knew him for more than 30 years. She remembers him as a fun loving, kind man, who she called awesome.
“It’s been a blow,” she said. “We’ll band together. We know to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, but it still doesn’t erase that we’ll be missing and loving such a great man of God.
Bahamian authorities said the plane crashed during a landing attempt. While they haven’t confirmed the cause of the crash, several reports indicate the plane hit a construction crane at the Grand Bahama shipyard and exploded during its approach to the airport.
“The thing fly in and hit the crane, it’s flying low below the radar and it hit one of the crane on the dry dock and explode in mid-air and it flow all the way down into the parking lot in the junk yard area,” a witness told a local reporter.
Debris could be seen scattered across a section of the shipyard. Witnesses reported a heavy odor of jet fuel as the rubble continued to burn.
Stewart Donaldson is a pilot out of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. He flies into Freeport often. Donaldson points out the shipyard and the cranes used to offload cargo ships are close to the airport.
“Coming in over the water, the shipyard is right in this area,” said Donaldson pointing to map of the layout. “These are where the gantry cranes are in that little peninsula and then straight into Runway 6.”
Donaldson said while in this area, planes have to fly at 500 feet or above because the cranes stand 367 feet into the air. The Lear jet had to be at least 150 feet below where it should have been for it to hit the crane.
“Why it was that low is the question. Did they have a mechanical issue? Did the pilots mistake lights for the runway? These are all the unknowns,” said Donaldson.
Donaldson added the airport also has no radar. It’s up to the pilots to let the tower know their location and altitude. The question now, did controllers know the plane’s exact location moments before the crash.
“He could have told the pilots you’re too low, you’re going to hit the cranes, pull up. He could have done that,”said Donaldson.
After factor which played a role in the crash was the weather. Heavy rain was also reported in the area during the time the plane went down.
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