Wed, Sep 08, 2004
Early Damage Estimates: $40 Million
Damage to hangars and aircraft at Florida's St. Lucie
International Airport could reach $40 million in the wake of
Hurricane Frances. Palm Beach County officials called the damage
"catastrophic," saying private tenants suffered the most.
The Palm Beach Post reports Mirabella Yachts, Lanshe Aerospace
and the Pan Am International Flight Academy were hardest-hit by the
storm. High winds ripped part of the roof off the Pan Am hangar,
throwing the aircraft inside around like toys. Airport Director
Paul Phillips told the paper Pan Am had flown out 50 aircraft in
advance of the storm. Those damaged or destroyed by Frances were
unable to fly.
To make matters worse, Phillips said
he hadn't been able to contact school officials. "The lack of
communication is just hindering everything," he told the Post.
"There are chances the owners don't know the extent of the damage,
and there is no way for them to contact us."
Phillips, his staff and his tenants started making ready for the
storm Wednesday. Phillips told the Palm Beach paper that he urged
about 200 aircraft owners to get their planes out while the getting
"Clearly our preparations were based on the plan to evacuate any
plane that could fly," Phillips told the paper. "With the storm
being downgraded, I expected a lot less damage than we had. I'm
very shocked at the amount of damage we sustained."
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