Transponders may have been turned off on ‘missing plane’ – PM
Aircraft N337LR, a Grumman Gulfstream III.
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December 29, 2023
Transponders may have been turned off on ‘missing plane’ – PM

Minister of National Security, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says there is no evidence that anything illegal was taken onboard the jet that went missing from Canouan last week.

The Prime Minister, speaking on NBC Radio‘s Morning Cup program on December 27 said intelligence suggests that the plane’s transponder was turned off a few minutes after take off.

Last Friday, December 22, aircraft N337LR, a Grumman Gulfstream III, with two crew and one passenger took off from Canouan at around 2:30 pm on what was said to be a sightseeing tour.

The men, two Mexicans and one Chilean, were expected to return at 4:27 p.m., but communication stopped with the air control tower around 2:33 pm.

On radio this week, Gonsalves said that information from external authorities is that they have a clear idea as to what happened.

Being tight lipped, the Minister of National Security said that in a matter of this nature, persons should not expect him to divulge “every bit of information that comes to me through the security forces”.

He added that at times, one has to know what you must say, when you must say it, or if you must say anything at all.

“…And sometimes, you have to wait until the time is necessary for you to say anything, but you can’t help people’s suspicious minds,” Gonsalves said while noting that sensible persons will understand what he is saying.

“You may use a particular place as a decoy for something you want to do,” the Minister of National Security noted, while adding that local authorities have been in touch with two Latin American countries of “relevance” on the matter with certain information.

He added also that they have also been in touch with the relevant authorities in the United States and the Regional Security System and it has become evident that the plane did not disappear as feigned.

He said that the thesis is that the transponder was turned off.