The Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas was temporarily closed at 5:36 a.m. Thursday due to a minor aircraft accident. According to the V.I. Port Authority, a privately-owned airplane destined for St. Croix skidded off the airport’s taxiway into a grassy area adjacent to one of the runways while taxiing for departure.
The incident was reportedly caused by mechanical failure. The plane’s pilot was uninjured and there were no passengers on board at the time of the incident, according to VIPA. The six-seat Piper Aztec model aircraft with the tail number N269KW is a twin-piston plane registered to Executive AirShares, LLC.
The accident itself occurred three hours earlier than the closing, around 2:30 a.m. The pilot notified the owner of the plane, who contacted Virgin Islands Port Authority airport operations to alert them of the accident. VIPA’s Airport Rescue Firefighters were notified and responded to the incident immediately. They were assisted by VIPA’s Port Police, airport operations staff and St. Thomas Jet Center, a company that provides services for private planes. The aircraft was towed to a secure location on the northern ramp at the airport.
The airport was reopened at 8:20 a.m., VIPA’s Airport Manager Jerome Sheridan said. He said the incident has been reported to the Federal Aviation Administration and will be investigated by the FAA’s Flight Standards District Office. The incident did cause some flight delays. Sheridan said that a cargo plane scheduled to arrive in St. Thomas this morning was temporarily diverted to the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix. Cape Air, JetBlue and a private flight were also delayed due to the temporary airport closure.