Families prepare to bury runway crash victims
ROYSTON JONES JR.
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: May 21, 2013
More than six weeks after three people were killed in a runway accident on Mayaguana, their families are finally able to bury their remains.
The families had to wait for police to receive the remains from a lab in the United States that conducted a forensic evaluation. Former Cabinet Minister Sidney Collie, who lost his mother, sister and brother-in-law in the tragedy, said a funeral will take place for Edith Collie (his mother) at Zion South Beach Baptist Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
A funeral for Collie’s sister, Enamae Polowick, will take place on June 1 at Bahamas Faith Ministries (BFM) International at 11 a.m.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been confirmed for Enamae’s husband, Tim Polowick.
The three were killed when a LeAir plane crashed into their truck on the Mayaguana airport runway around 1 a.m. on April 4.
They were using the truck to provide lighting for the charter plane, which was making an emergency medical flight to the island for Collie’s uncle.
Collie said police advised the families on Thursday that they had received the final forensic report.
“We were reluctant to make arrangement until we were told police had the final report,” he told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
“Assistant Commissioner [Stephen] Seymour called on Thursday and said they have the final report and we made the arrangements.
“My father signed the papers with the funeral home so the remains will be turned over to the funeral home.”
He said his family is relieved to finally move forward with the funerals and begin the process of gaining closure.
But Collie said the arrangements for Polowick are still “up in the air” and the families are trying to determine whether there will be a combined or third funeral.
“I still don’t know when that funeral will be, what arrangement will be made and whether it will be a funeral or cremation, and [the remains] sent back to the family in Canada; that’s up in the air,” he said.
Kirk Collie, Sidney Collie’s brother, said the family planned a meeting last night to discuss the funeral arrangements.
The accident triggered widespread discussion over why some Family Island runways in The Bahamas still do not have lights.
Following the tragedy, Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin and MICAL MP V. Alfred Gray blamed the Ingraham administration’s delay and restructuring of the agreement for the controversial I-Group development in Mayaguana for the lack of runway lighting at the airport.
The airport’s lights were not operational due to the I-Group’s ongoing work at the airport, they said.
Sidney Collie said he wants to give his loved ones a dignified burial before commenting on the political back and forth surrounding the tragedy.
Hanna-Martin said on Thursday that emergency solar lights will be installed on the Mayaguana airport runway within another two weeks.
The initial timeline she gave after the tragedy was six weeks, which passed last Thursday.
The government will outsource the installation contract to ensure it is completed in the shortest time possible, she said.