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Twin-Engine Plane Makes Emergency Landing at Sea

April 18, 2006 – All seven people aboard a twin-engine plane that was forced to make an emergency landing in the Caribbean Sea between St. Croix and St. Thomas Tuesday morning are safe.
The aircraft, a twin-engine Navajo, is owned by the V.I. Department of Justice.
In a phone interview, Stridrion said the aircraft was carrying four juvenile detainees, two DOJ officers, and pilot Garry Schmidt, a DOJ employee.
"The aircraft was coming into St. Thomas carrying four juvenile detainees scheduled to appear this morning at Family Court for processing. More than halfway across, both engines went out for unknown reasons. Garry Schmidt, the pilot, apparently made what is called a dead-stick landing, without engines," Stridiron said.
"All seven passengers were able to get out. St. Thomas Rescue and other boats who were in the area were able to get all passengers safely on board. They are on St. Thomas now," Stridiron said. He said the aircraft's passengers "probably all have gone to Schneider Hospital to be checked."
Amos Carty, Schneider Regional Medical Center chief operating officer, confirmed Tuesday afternoon that all seven persons were brought to the medical center. He said four of the seven have been treated and released. The other three are "undergoing treatment, and are in stable condition."
Stridiron, now legal counsel for the Waste Management Authority, said Schmidt is very professional.
"If anyone could land on a dead-stick, Garry could," Stridiron said. "He is the chief pilot, and he takes his job very seriously."
Stridiron said he had worked with Schmidt for several years.
The U. S. Coast Guard confirmed they had a vessel on the scene. They said they could not comment yet.
A press briefing on the incident is scheduled at the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency offices at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Attorney General Kerry Drue, Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards, Schmidt, and others who helped in the rescue will attend.

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