By Ernice Gilbert
ST. THOMAS — A helicopter crashed at Botany Bay Monday afternoon and left at least four individuals dead, the Consortium can confirm.
A Consortium reporter as of 6:32 p.m. was in the vicinity of the scene of the accident, however emergency personnel had cordoned off a broad area.
The Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) said in a release issued at about 6:24 p.m. that a number of local emergency responders were on the scene, including VITEMA, VI Fire Service, VI Port Authority and the V.I. Police Department. VITEMA said the incident occurred at roughly 3:00 p.m.
The federal government also had personnel on the scene, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board. St. Thomas Rescue was on site as well.
According to a person with knowledge of the matter, at least four people were on the helicopter, including a St. Thomas business owner, his wife and son. VITEMA at about 7:36 p.m. subsequently confirmed in a second news release that four people were on the helicopter, all of whom succumbed to injuries sustained during the tragic incident. According to the person, first responders are set continue their search and rescue efforts early Tuesday, as visibility diminished Monday night. The helicopter is said to have been completely destroyed during the crash, said the person.
VITEMA said identification of victims would be withheld pending next of kin notification.