Piper Aztec Go Down In Bahamian Waters All Six Onboard Rescued


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Piper Aztec Go Down In Bahamian Waters All Six Onboard Rescued

By Jim Douglas

August 23, 2010 - Crewmembers from the U.S. Coast Guard, Bahamian Air Sea Rescue Association (BASRA) and Royal Bahamian Defense Force (RBDF) respond to a downed Piper aircraft in the waters about 23 miles northeast of Freeport, Bahamas today. All six persons aboard the aircraft were located with no injuries

Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) personnel received the report of a downed aircraft at about 11 a.m. Monday from air traffic control tower personnel at Grand Bahamas International Airport.  

Reports to the Coast Guard indicated the aircraft was going down due to engine trouble and the passengers were requesting assistance. The pilot had passed their tail call numbers before losing communication with the tower. 


The Piper Aztec PA-23-250, with tail numner N20373 is a fixed wing multi-engine aircraft is owned by Cambridge Air Inc Wilmington, Delaware. A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., C-130 aircrew launched and assisted in the search for the down aircraft. At approximately 12:30 p.m. RBDF smallboat crews located the downed aircraft with six persons aboard. All six survivors were transferred and it was later confirmed that all persons were accounted for with no reported injuries. Bahamian police reported the aircraft was headed to Grand Bahamas went down north of Walker?s Cay Island. The onboard passengers included two children and a woman who is six months pregnant.

The Piper PA-23 was the first twin-engine design from Piper and was developed from a proposed "Twin Stinson" design inherited when Piper bought the Stinson Division of the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft corporation. The prototype PA-23 was a four-seater low-wing all-metal monoplane with a twin tail, powered by a two 125 hp Lycoming O-290-D piston engines the prototype first flew 2 March 1952.

The aircraft performed badly and it was redesigned with a single vertical stabilizer and an all-metal rear fuselage and more powerful 150 hp Lycoming O-320-A engines. Two new prototype of re-designed aircraft now named Apache were built in 1953 and entered production in 1954; 1,231 were built. In 1958, the Apache 160 was produced by upgrading the engines to 160 hp (119 kW), and 816 were built before being superseded by the Apache 235, which went to 235 hp (175 kW) engines and swept tail surfaces (119 built).

In 1958 an upgraded version with 250 hp (186 kW) Lycoming O-540 engines and adding a swept vertical tail was produced as the PA-23-250 and was name Aztec. These first models came in a five-seat configuration which became available in 1959. In 1961 a longer nosed variant the Aztec B entered production. The later models of the Aztec were equipped with IO-540 fuel-injected engines and six-seat capacity, and continued in production until 1982. There were also turbocharged versions of the later models, which were able to fly at higher altitudes.


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