What: Pioneer Caribbean Logistics Limited Twin Star helicopter en route from Marsh Harbour to Baker’s Bay
Where: Great Guana Cay, North Abaco, Bahamas
When: Nov 22, 2012, 1 p.m.
Who: 4 injured, 1 fatality
Why: The party aboard the helicopter was landing at a luxury resort community, Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club on Great Guana Cay, when gusty winds blew the chopper into a spin and out of control. The helicopter’s rotor blades struck the ground near the Baker’s Bay townhomes, and the tail broke off. The pilot was injured, and hospitalized. One passenger, Lance Valdez, died on impact.
Valdez founded Pioneer Capital and lived in New York before he and his family moved to the Bahamas.
Jeffrey Soffer was also aboard the plane. Soffer was injured along with Dan and Paula Riordan. Soffer owns the Fountainebleau Miami Beach, condos in Las Vegas, the Bahamas and Washington D.C and is an investor in Turnberry Associates. Dan Riordan is also with Turnberry. The injured were taken by boat to Marsh Harbour.
From Marsh Harbour, the crash victims were flown by racing-team owner Roger Penske’s private jet to Miami where Soffer and the Riordans were hospitalized at Miami’s Ryder Trauma Center. One of the injured was taken to Nassau.
Civil Aviation Department investigators traveled to Abaco to begin examining the crash. The wreckage has been moved to a secure location. The Bahamas Ministry of Transportation and Aviation has completed its preliminary report on the Abaco helicopter crash. The report indicates that the airframe, engine and propeller manufacturers and designers have been notified of the accident.