WILLEMSTAD, Netherlands Antilles, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A Caribbean airline says one of its pilots sacrificed his own life to save his passengers when he crashed into the sea between Curacao and Bonaire.
Robert Mansell, 32, a native of Knowle in the British Midlands, went down with the twin-engine Britten-Norman Islander, the BBC reported Saturday. The nine others on board got out safely Wednesday but Mansell was still belted into his seat in the cockpit.
The water in the area is almost 500 feet deep.
Mansell worked for Avion di Divi Divi, based in Curacao, which operates short flights between Caribbean islands.
"He's a hero. All the passengers survived and he is the only one missing," said Simon Janzen, a spokesman for the airline. "If he wasn't a good pilot, he couldn't have ditched it so everyone could be saved. Other pilots wouldn't have known what to do but he landed the aircraft so that everyone could get out safely."
Germaine Richie, Divi Divi's managing director, said the crash was under investigation. Mansell made a distress call reporting the right engine of his aircraft had failed shortly before he brought the plane down.