Santo Domingan plane takes flight – Police trace to South America
The Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (IDAC) and state security bodies are investigating the theft of a private plane from a hangar belonging to Grupo Puntacana early Saturday morning. The plane was parked at La Isabela International Airport in northern Santo Domingo. The plane, a Beechcraft King Air 200 US registration N871, took off at 3:12am and was spotted on the Las Americas airport radar, reportedly heading in direction to South America.
IDAC director Alejandro Herrera said he could not give details but that the case was under investigation.
As reported in El Caribe, the Grupo Puntacana said the matter was being handled by the Specialized Airport Security Corps (CESA).
El Caribe says this is the first case of theft of an airplane from a local airport. It says that take off and landing an airplane in any airport around the world involves rigorous revision, authorization and permission to fly procedures.
After initial reports suggested the plane belonged to the Grupo Puntacana, CESA said that it was the property of a priest who lives in Arizona. The pastor was keeping the airplane at one of the Grupo Puntacana hangars at the airport.
As reported in acento.com.do, the airplane previously belonged to Patricia A King de Leon and Flight Harvest (harvestflight.org). The authorities could not tell the press if the owner of the airplane was in the Dominican Republic.
Acento observes that the thieves had time to prepare an alternative disused runway and steal 150 gallons of fuel in eight containers from another hangar. They also managed to tow the plane for 75 meters and doctored the airport closed circuit video camera system, unnoticed by military security.