Though officials have not yet confirmed the names of the four people who died Monday in a helicopter crash in heavily wooded terrain near Botany Bay on St. Thomas, a news release from Antilles School put names to the victims.
“The Antilles School family suffered a tragic loss Monday when Tyler Yannone, a member of our Class of 2021, his parents Daniel Yannone and Neisha Zahn, and alumni parent Maria Rodriguez – whose daughter graduated in 2006 and whose son continued to be a part of our community until high school, when he left to pursue a career as an international kiteboarder – passed away in a helicopter crash on St. Thomas,” the news release issued by the school said.
The school’s announcement confirmed the unofficial reports that began ricochetting around the community as soon as word of the accident first broke at about 3 p.m. Monday.
Officials working nearly around the clock on the investigation of the helicopter crash that took place on Monday in a heavily wooded area of Botany Bay on St. Thomas are still not ready to release the names of the deceased until they are 100 percent sure they know who died in the crash.
“We are trying to make sure we get the names right,” Fire Service Director Daryl A. George Sr. said.
What is certain, he said, is there were only four people aboard the aircraft when it went down, which corresponds to the number of victims in the Antilles School release.
George, who is the incident commander, confirmed this after investigators spent the entire day at the site of the crash where only four bodies were recovered. The bodies are at the morgue on St. Thomas in the care of the Medical Examiner’s Office, George said.
Meanwhile, despite inquiries to several government officials and information personnel, no one has been able to verify if a passenger manifest was filed or not. The requirement for a manifest is a gray area in the aviation world relative to private planes and tours.
The community will have answers on Wednesday, George promised. A news conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Omar Brown Fire Station.