Twenty-three-year-old British citizen Michael Hudson cheated death when the nine-seater Fly Montserrat aircraft he was a passenger in plunged to the ground shortly after take-off.
The tragedy claimed the lives of Captain Jason Forbes and 29-year-old Annya Duncan, of Jamaica, on impact. The other passenger, 57-year-old Sandrama Poligadu, of Guyana, was rushed to hospital but died shortly after.
Hudson, who was in a critical condition, is now said to be sitting up in bed, alert and talking. He’s being comforted by his father who flew to be by his son’s bedside as soon as the family received the terrible news.
One visitor told OBSERVER Media, “It’s a miracle Michael’s alive. He’s very, very lucky. It’s incredible to see him sitting up in bed, fully alert and conscious, talking to his father.”
Initial reports from police indicated that Hudson was unconscious when he arrived at hospital. He is believed to have blacked out seconds before the plane hit the ground but the full extent of his injuries was not as serious as originally thought.
Hudson has since had an operation to repair his right leg, which is broken below the knee and has been fitted with a steel rod.
His right arm is in a cast, his left eye bloodshot and he has several cuts and bruises, including to his forehead. He is being cared for in the male surgical ward at Mount St John’s Medical Centre.
Hudson was visiting Antigua en route to Montserrat for a business trip, apparently regarding a poultry project.
He has not yet been officially interviewed by investigators probing the cause of the disaster but he is expected to be asked for his recollections of the doomed plane’s final seconds soon.
His family is currently making arrangements to fly him home to the UK.
The source added, “He appears to be in relatively good spirits, considering what he has been through. He is smiling and talking and of course he has family and friends around him.
“The nursing staff are doing a fantastic job. Whenever they arrive on shift, the first thing they do is go and check on Michael. He has a good support network around him which is making him feel a lot more comfortable.”
The ill-fated Britten Norman Islander plunged from the sky just after 4 pm Sunday. Horrified eyewitnesses reported hearing the engine cut out mid-air. One onlooker, Karen Abbott-Winter, previously told media it appeared the plane was attempting to turn back seconds before it dropped to ground, landing on its left side.
Meanwhile, a team of investigators – which includes two members of the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch who are assisting the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCA) with its probe – is hard at work trying to piece together the events leading up to the smash.
Local weather experts previously expressed concerns that thunderstorms and lightning on the day may have been an aggravating factor.
Airport Authority boss Stanley Smith said yesterday it was too early to determine the cause.
“The investigation is ongoing, nothing is conclusive right now. The Civil Aviation Authority have total control over the investigation until it comes to a conclusion.”
Smith pledged airport chiefs’ full assistance to the probe. “Whatever data they require we will give them,” he added.
Investigators yesterday started listening to the audio recording of the conversation between the pilot and control tower operators prior to the smash.