At 11:42 local time (15:42 UTC) on Thursday, August 24th, after landing at Gustaf III airport in St. Barth, in the Lesser Antilles, a DHC-6 Twin Otter with the registration F-OMYS from Air Antilles Express continued its trajectory and collided with an AS350 Écureuil helicopter that was parked.
The aircraft was operating flight 3S722 from Pointe-a-Pitre, in Guadeloupe, a leg of just under an hour that Air Antilles Express operates several times a day.
Citing sources from the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service of Saint-Barthélemy, local media report that onboard the Twin Otter were seven passengers, all of whom survived without serious injuries, except for one woman.
Gustaf III airport is world-renowned among aviation enthusiasts as it has a very short runway (646 m or 2.119 ft) with one of its headers (orientation 10) close to a road on a hill, and the other (orientation 28) over St. Jean bay. These challenges mean that pilots must have a special license to land there.
At the time of this publication, flights at Gustaf III airport remain suspended. For this Thursday, about 120 flights were scheduled, both arrivals and departures. St. Barth is connected by air with Pointe-a-Pitre, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Flights are operated on aircrafts of up to 19 passengers such as the DCH-6 Twin Otter involved in the accident, Cessna Caravan, Norman BN-2A Islander, and Pilatus PC-12.
A webcam captured the moment of the Twin Otter’s collision with the helicopter:
Air Guyane Express and Air Antilles Express employ around 300 people and play a significant role in the inter-island air connectivity of the Caribbean. Both airlines operate under the Air Antilles brand and have a fleet composed of 8 aircraft: 4 ATR 72, 2 ATR 42, and 2 De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter.