Updated September 13, 2019 | Bakers Bay Helicopter Crash
Billionaire Husband of Elle McPherson Accused of Killing Friend at Bakers Bay. Three Important Questions.
Update: the Bakers Bay helicopter crash lawsuit was dropped by Lance Valdez' wife's attorney in January 2014. While the lawsuit is over, the damage to Great Guana Cay from this celebrity news is not.
The news about the lawsuit against Jeffrey Soffer hit the fans on December 10. The news hit every major news market in the world, and trended high in newswires and on TV in places such as India, New Zealand and Australia. In the United States, according to Google News top stories, the story was the fourth most cited top story, trending high in news wires for about twelve hours.
Miami Billionaire Killed My Husband
Elle MacPherson Heads to Miami where husband Jeffrey Soffer faces wrongful death law suit
Elle MacPherson Accused of covering up husband's role in fatal helicopter crash
Jeffrey Soffer Sued in Dealy Helicopter Crash
In almost every version of the story, the journalists opted to cite the location of the crash as the island of 'Great Guana Cay', rather than specifically citing the development on Great Guana Cay where the death occured - Bakers Bay Golf & Ocean Club.
Great Guana Cay has never seen this much press in its entire history. Historically, Guana Cay would pop up in the news for the quaint sort of story that endeared travelers to the island. A story about a painter who retired to the island. A story about the colorful beach bar, or a sailboat race, or as part of a travel piece on loyalist culture in the Abaco Sound.
In a world where travel research takes place online, and gossip celebrity news easily mingles with travel research news, it is becoming clear that slowly, the fears of many who opposed Bakers Bay are starting to be realized.
Look at this video from Bakers Bay, of helicopter games at Bakers Bay:
Many feared that Bakers Bay would cater to a certain type: a high-stress millionaire or even billionaire who cared little about the local culture, but who demanded speed, alcohol, drugs, big toys, and maybe even women from third world countries.
Lance Armstrong hid out at Bakers Bay in the last days before the story of his cheating broke. The racist oxycodone-hydrocodone abusing Rush Limbaugh filmed a golf show there, and Martha Stewart, the media-magnate who was incarcerated for conspiracy in a stock trading case, showcased photos of undersized lobsters from Bakers Bay on her blog.
But this new news trumps all of the other hideous celebrity tales from Bakers Bay, and the news will likely damage Great Guana Cay's culture and tourism.
Here are some quotes from the case:
"It is alleged that Soffer, together with the Riordans, Krys and one or more others, conspired and otherwise agreed to conceal...the fact and circumstance that Soffer, and not David Pearce, was flying the Helicopter at the time of the Helicopter Crash."
"This subterfuge and deception was necessary, in turn, because if it was discovered that Soffer was piloting the Helicopter without a license, he would or could be personally liable..."
"...It is alleged that Soffer, in conjuction with the Rioardans and Krys, concocted a scheme and artifice to waive and insurance proceeds that Soffer and the Riordans might be entitled to receive in connection with the Helicopter Crash, and to funnel the entirety of the $2 million in insurance proceeds...so that Soffer might avoid his own liability in an exponentially greater amount as compared to the $2 million."
"(Helicopter pilot) Peirce believed that Soffer was a licensed and experience pilot...this belief..derived from the fact that Soffer advised Lance Valdez that he was a licensed helicopter pilot."
"(Soffer) did not have any then current helicopter certificate or rating listed at the time of the Helicopter Crash."
"Soffer piloted the (Helicopter) at all times from the airport in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas until the time of the Helicopter Crash at Bakers Bay, where, upon information and belief, Soffer owns property and a residence."
"In a clearing near Bakers Bay, Soffer attempted to land the Helicopter...David Pearce had not previously flown into Bakers Bay, and was not familiar with and did not know about the particular clearing that Soffer chose to land..."
"(Soffer)...approached the landing site too quickly, ultimately taking a low and direct path that would not be typical for an experienced helicopter pilot...due to his inexperience in piloting...Soffer pulled back to sharply on the controls, causing the Helicopter to spin out of control and to rear backwards some 75 feet, causing it to crash violently into the ground..."
"While Lance Valdez' broken and seemingly lifeless body was still lying on the ground near the Helicopter Crash site...Soffer arrange to have himself and the Riordans transported...in order to escape, flee and/or remove himself...from the Bahamas before any investigation could be conducted, including so that he could at least temporarily prevent anyone from investigating and learning that he was flying the Helicopter..."
December 27, 2012 | Bakers Bay
Animation shows Bakers Bay Crash
NMA NewsDirect created this 3D representation of the fatal crash at Bakers Bay this Thanksgiving Day.
November 25, 2012 | Discovery Land Company
Nightmare at Bakers Bay as Helicopter Spins out of Control, Crashes near Condos, causing Death
An employee at Bakers Bay Golf & Ocean Club, who witnessed the Thanksgiving Day tragedy, referred to the scene as a 'nightmare,' as a helicopter owned by Lance O. Valdez, attempted to land on the gusty Bakers Bay helicopter landing pad in 30-40 mile-per-hour winds. The wind quickly took the machine out of control, throwing three out of the five out of the helicopter. The owner was torn apart by the rotor blades as the helicopter slammed into the ground just feet from Bakers Bay condos; by some reports not far from crowds of people. Three of the four other passengers remain at hospitals, their condition is unknown. Guana Cay residents pray for their recoveries.
A team from the Civil Aviation Department is investigating the crash.
Huffington Post: Jeffrey Soffer survives Fatal Crash
San Jose Mercury News: Four Injured in Bakers Bay Crash
Daily Mail: Elle's Billionaire Ex-Lover Survives
Click image below for full Reuters Article
The horrific accident recalls an earlier death at a Discovery Land Company property this year. The dual tragedies beg some questions.
- Does the fast-paced lifestyle of the Discovery Land Company set create unsafe conditions for the innocent?
- What if the helicopter crashed into the condos? Only luck kept it from doing so.
- What if the helicopter crashed into the Guana Cay settlement?
- Haven't fast-speed flyovers above Guana Cay increased in recent years?
- Many members of Save Guana Cay Reef joined the Bakers Bay opposition group because they feared the Discovery Land Company property would be a noisy, brash megadevelopment that would turn Guana Cay into a playground for a type of people who didn't share their traditional values. Is this crash the latest example of their worst nightmares coming true?
- Great Guana Cay is known for sudden and violent wind gusts, especially in winter. Is a helicopter pad wise in such circumstances?
- Here is a video from 2011 of a helicopter 'playing' at Bakers Bay. Would such behavior be considered responsible elsewhere?