By anguillian October 19, 2012 10:14


Captain Kirby Hodge


While Anguillians, and other persons, at home and abroad, are still deeply saddened by the tragic loss of national pilot, Captain Kirby Hodge, along with two of his three passengers, it has been announced that his outstanding aviation legacy will be continued.


The announcement, about the immediate plans for Anguilla Air Express and Rainbow International Airlines, came in a press release on Tuesday, October 16, from his wife, Rose Hodge,who is also the company’s Executive Administrator.


“We intend to uphold the legacy that Kirby left us,” she stated. “I know he can never be replaced, but we will definitely endeavour to come as close as possible to the service that Kirby personally provided and that is synonymous with who we are as a company. Thank you for your support.”


Meanwhile, Ms. Donna Banks, a close associate of the company, issued the following release the same day:


“The Management and Staff of Anguilla Air Express and Rainbow International Airlines   today expressed their thanks and appreciation to the residents of Anguilla and St. Thomas, in particular, where Kirby called home; members of the aviation community and the travel industry; the United States Coast Guard; the St. Thomas Rescue Service; business associates; passengers and friends both regionally and internationally; and all who expressed their concerns and well wishes; demonstrated their acts of love and affection as a result of the Saturday October 13, 2012 incident when a private aircraft piloted by Captain Kirby Hodge and travelling between St. Croix and St. Thomas was lost in flight.


Captain Kirby Hodge preparing to take an Anguillian patient to Puerto Rico on his Citation Jet

“Captain Kirby Hodge was the Director of Operations for Rainbow International Airlines, a US-registered airline company. [It was] started out of a need to provide on demand luxury charter service for both the business and leisure market as well as the need to provide emergency medical evacuations. He held a FAA Airline Transport License, flew commercially for 38 years, with over 30,000 flight hours logged. Kirby was type-rated in the Boeing 737, DC 3 and the Citation 550. He was a Captain for Amerijet, Aero Virgin, Air BVI and Marshalls before starting Rainbow International in 1996.


“Kirby was respected throughout the Caribbean region, theUnited Statesand internationally, for his professionalism, his commitment to serving others and his soft-spoken confidence transmitted to all passengers. Kirby lived to fly and loved to help others. Safety was always his priority; and he ensured that every division of his company operated at the highest levels of efficiency be it the daily flights between Anguilla and San Juan; the executive charter service or air ambulance service to any island in the Caribbean and points within the  US.


“Kirby will never be replaced and his legacy of love, kindness, devotion and compassion will forever be etched in the minds of those he came into contact with. Kirby is survived by his caring and devoted wife of 28 years, Rose Hodge, who was his tower of strength; as well as two sons.”


Early Saturday morning October 13, kirby was piloting a twin-engine Piper Aztec plane returning from delivering newspapers inSt. Croix. The aircraft reportedly went down six nautical miles south ofSt. Thomas. Only one survivor – Valerie Jackson Thomas – was found during the search. Those missing with him were named as Rachel Hamilton and Darwin Carr.


The US Coast Guard, which had been leading the search, along with many other vessels, reported that it had made 26 searches covering an area of 4,800 miles. The search was suspended on Monday, October 15. It is understood that arrangements were being made to salvage the downed aircraft.


The Anguillian joins with all persons everywhere in offering condolences to all the bereaving families.

By anguillian October 19, 2012 10:14


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