Jamaican student pilot dies in Florida plane crash




Mark Scott and wife Rachelle Scott at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Student pilot Mark Daniel Scott’s death has been described as a major loss for young aspiring Jamaican aviators.

The 25-year-old Wolmer’s Boys alumnus died in a plane crash in south Florida Tuesday morning after the Piper PA-34 aircraft he was flying developed mechanical problems, crashing near the southside of Pembroke Road in Florida.

His instructor, who was with him, is still hospitalised with ­serious injuries.

The aircraft was operated by the Wayman Aviation flight school.

Mark Scott and wife Rachelle Scott at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

“He started his career with us at Caribbean Aviation, and he was like my son. In fact, anyone would want to have him as a son,” a ­solemn Captain Errol Stewart, operator of the Jamaican flight school, Caribbean Aviation Training Centre, told The Gleaner Tuesday evening.

His voice cracking from pain, Stewart said that Scott was focused, disciplined, and on the path to a promising future. But “life has way of throwing you a curve ball,” he lamented.

YEARNING FOR OPPORTUNITIES

The aviation instructor said it was the yearning for opportunities for self-development that drove Scott to move to Florida with his wife, Rachelle, who recently got her commercial pilot licence.

“Those are the struggles we are having here,” said Stewart, noting the difficulties to keep local talent in Jamaica.

Scott was at an advanced stage of becoming a commercial pilot.

On Tuesday morning as he took off on what turned out to be his final flight, his wife of three years awaited his return at the school. The couple resided in Miramar.

“If one is flying, the other one is waiting. They had a bond that was second to none,” Stewart stated, adding that as painful as the loss would be to Scott’s wife, his parents would be just as devastated.

Mark was the son of Dr Paul Scott, a pulmonologist based at the University Hospital of the West Indies, and Dr Angela Scott, a haematologist.

“He was an example of a great son. I know what they are going through.”

According to multiple reports, Scott and his instructor took off from the North Perry Airport, located about three miles from the crash site, shortly before 9 a.m.

Scott is reported to have advised air traffic controllers at the airport that he was trying to get back.

However, when he tried ­landing the plane on the south side of Pembroke Road, the tail of the plane clipped power wires, ­crash-landed, and burst into flames.

Dr Allan Cunningham, the Southern region area Global Diaspora Council member, said he has been in constant touch with the family and described the situation as “truly sad”.

Dash-camera footage showed the badly damaged plane up against a tree near a Chase bank.

A third person on the ground was injured by debris and treated at the scene.

The vice-president of Wayman Aviation, Eddy Luy, said that Scott had been training with the flight academy for about a year and was about to complete his training.

Luy was quoted by CBS Miami as saying: “They had some ­trouble, ­followed all emergency ­procedures, but it seems like chance was not with them this morning.”