Plane crash victim always wanted to be a pilot

November 12, 2016
Student pilot Ramone Forbes
Ihesha Briscoe, a childhood friend of Ramone Forbes.
Firefighters carrying out cooling-down operations on the plane and crash site.
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Ihesha Briscoe grew up with Ramone Forbes in Castle district, Priestman's River, Portland.

Forbes was among three persons aboard the small fixed-wing aircraft that developed mechanical difficulties and crashed in the Greenwich Town area of St Andrew on Thursday. None of them made it.

"For me, it was like someone stabbed me in the heart twice. The tears came. I couldn't help myself. My friend had me in her arms cradling me like a baby. I couldn't sleep," Briscoe told THE STAR yesterday.

Forbes, she said, always wanted to be a pilot.

"That was his dream from day one. I remember as kids we would pretend that we were travelling in an airplane and pilot Ramone would always be at the front," she recalled.

Forbes appeared to have been on his way to becoming a pilot when he left Titchfield High School as a lower sixth former, and enrolled at the Caribbean Aviation Training Centre in Kingston this academic year.

But tragedy struck on Thursday, as shortly after take-off from the Tinson Pen Aerodrome in Kingston, when the CESSNA 172 aircraft developed mechanical problems and crashed in the Greenwich Town area.

All three occupants sustained serious injuries and were taken to the Kingston Public Hospital.

Jonathan Worton, 31, flight instructor of Boone Hall Road in Stony Hill, St Andrew, and 19-year-old Dansheer Gilmore of Ocean Hill, St Ann, were pronounced dead on arrival.

Forbes was admitted in critical condition, but later succumbed to his injuries.

Richard Thompson, principal of Titchfield High School, told THE STAR that Forbes was a model student while at Titchfield. He said teachers and students were in tears yesterday.

 

Grieving openly

 

"He was a quiet and unassuming student. He was very ambitious. He was loved by his peers, and that was evident this morning where we saw them grieving openly," Thompson told THE STAR.

Meanwhile, Briscoe, 20, said Forbes was someone with whom she played with for most of her childhood.

"This a somebody mi play inna dirt wid. When you heard the bicyles coming down the hill just know that's my bicycle and Ramone's bicycle," she said.

Today she regrets not getting the chance to say goodbye to her childhood friend.

"What hurts the most is we were actually in Portland at the same time last week, but I was so busy getting things together to return to Kingston that I didn't get to see him. That's a first because we always see each other once we're home," she told THE STAR.

Now that he is dead, Briscoe promises to celebrate the life of a friend she would travel to school with everyday throughout high school.

"I've decided to celebrate his life. His legacy will live on, and it's nothing to be sad about," she said.

"The day I found out he was starting aviation school was also a very proud moment because I knew he was following his dreams. And I'm still proud of him, and I'm glad he actually got to fly, and that our childhood imagination became real. I'll never forget that bright smile and I'll always love Ramone."

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