Dog delays departure of flight at airport
January 13, 2015
Dog delays departure of flight at airport

Director of Airports in St Vincent and the Grenadines Corsel Robertson is appealing to persons who cut the wire fencing that surrounds the ET Joshua Airport in Arnos Vale “to stop the dangerous practice.”{{more}}

On Sunday night, at around 8 p.m., a LIAT flight destined for Trinidad was delayed when the pilots who were taking the flight down the runway, spotted a dog on the airstrip.

The pilots thought it best to stop the plane and the ensuing application of the plane’s brakes, which resulted in a loud screech that could be heard as far away as Cane Garden.

Passengers were asked to disembark the aircraft, while airport personnel checked the runway for the stray animal.

On Monday morning, via telephone, Robertson confirmed the incident involving the dog. She, however, noted that she could not go into full details, but said that animals wander on to the runway when the fence is cut.

“This is a troublesome thing; people cut holes in the fencing and while we inspect the fence daily and on a regular basis, we suspect they cut holes to cross at the bottom of the airstrip to get to Great Head Bay,” said Robertson.

She said that the fence is patrolled twice a day and repairs are done right away once damage is noticed, but persons damage the fence in between the patrols.

“When holes are cut and animals wander onto the airport strip, this is a danger to aviation, but we don’t know how to stop people from cutting the fencing, so I am appealing to the public to stop the dangerous practice,” stressed Robertson.

She said that while it is not an everyday occurrence, the holes in the fences sometimes lead to animals wandering onto the tarmac, which can cause serious complications.

She revealed that in mid-2014, there were two incidences when cattle wandered onto the airstrip, but were seen beforehand and removed and therefore posed no real risk.

“It is a problem. I don’t know why they cut it, but it poses a serious danger, so we have been trying to prevent and mitigate,” said Robertson, who added that they try their best to keep the airstrip clean at all times, even of dead birds.

“If we see a bird or anything, we take it off, no matter how small.”

The airport director also said that when the Argyle international airport opens later this year, it will be a different type of operation, but the possibility exists that some of the same problems can occur at the new site.

She noted also that animals that wander onto the airport compound are sometimes shot, once this can be done without putting persons in danger and aircraft at risk.

“I am appealing to the general public to stop cutting the fencing,” stressed Robertson.