The JOURNAL of COMMERCE ONLINE
MIAMI - The channel leading to the Port of Miami was closed after Monday's crash of a seaplane that killed all 18 passengers and the two crew members, the Coast Guard said.
The plane crashed into Government Cut, the port's main access channel. Vessel access to the port was shut off as investigators probed the accident site.
A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said this morning his team will remove the mostly intact fuselage with flotation buoys "as soon as possible, most likely today. We want to clear the channel and return the port to the captains."
The bodies of 19 of the 20 persons on board have been recovered.
The 48-year-old twin-engine Grumman G73 seaplane operated by Chalk's Ocean Airways was en route to Bimini in the Bahamas, said Roger Nair, general manager and director of operations at Chalk's, during a news briefing. Flight 101, which took off from Watson Island, was carrying 18 passengers, including three infants, and two crew members when it went down, he said.
Chalk's has been in the airline business since 1919 and its Miami flights land and take off on the waters of Government Cut within 100 yards of the Port of Miami cruise terminals.
The port said three cruise ships remain at their berths waiting the re-opening of the channel along with one containership.
Three container ships are waiting offshore to call the port.