Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Researchers Stranded on Palmyra Island
The story about the researches stranded on an island in the south Pacific caught my interest because that is the general area my father was during World War II. Its also interesting that there are people stranded on a tropical island. I guess we don’t think of that sort of thing happening these days! At least they are able to communicate with the outside world as opposed to just being there and no one knowing where they are!
It seems that a certain type of plane is needed to transport people back and forth between Hawaii and Palmyra Island. The plane that is used to do that has broken down and needs a new engine. This isn’t good for the people who are currently on the island. The special plane is needed because Palmyra has a coral runway.
The island is a wildlife refuge and nature preserve that is owned by the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii. Scientists, environmentalists and researchers go there from all over the world to study the wild life and nature. This group of twelve trustees from Louisiana went down there last Saturday to do whatever it is they do. Now they are stuck there.
The Nature Conservancy is working with Pacific Air Charters based at Honolulu International Airport to use a twin-engine Cessna to retrieve the stranded travelers. they have to fit the Cessna with a special 75-gallon fuel tank so that they can get the plane to Christmas Island which is about 300 miles from Palmyra. From there they will shuttle the trustees from Palmyra in two trips. Before it can make the trip they have to go through the bureaucratic paperwork necessary for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clearances and approvals. I’m sure they prefer to wait for the plane to be airworthy!
Meanwhile, the trustees are waiting on the island. Fortunately, the island is set up to be a research outpost and therefore has running water, cabins and other supplies.
At least it looks like a lovely place to be stranded!