His boy­hood dream was al­ways to be a pi­lot

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Gareth Davis Sr Sun­day Gleaner Writer

The tragic death of 18-year-old trainee pi­lot Romone Forbes in a plane crash last week has plunged staff and stu­dents at Titch­field High School in Port­land in shock and grief. They are still try­ing to come to grips with los­ing one of their own, who many de­scribed as a bright young star with lim­it­less po­ten­tial.

PORT AN­TO­NIO, Port­land:

THE TRAGIC death of 18year-old trainee pi­lot Romone Forbes in a plane crash last week has plunged staff and stu­dents at Titch­field High School in Port­land in shock and grief. They are still try­ing to come to grips with los­ing one of their own, who many de­scribed as a bright young star with lim­it­less po­ten­tial.

The stu­dent pi­lot with the Caribbean Avi­a­tion Train­ing Cen­tre was one of three per­sons aboard a Cessna 172 air­craft, which crashed shortly af­ter take-off from Tin­son Pen Aero­drome into a house in Green­wich Town, Kingston, last Thurs­day around 1:30 pm, bring­ing an end to a boy­hood dream, while shattering the hopes of fam­ily and friends. Flight in­struc­tor, 31-year-old Jonathan Worton of Boon Hall Road, Stony Hill in St Andrew; and trainee pi­lot 19-year-old Dan­sheer Gil­more of Ocean Hill, St Ann, both died on the spot. Forbes, a son of St Mary, who suf­fered se­vere burns to 60 per cent of his body, died later at the Kingston Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal.

OVER­WHELM­ING SAD­NESS

The Sun­day Gleaner was greeted with over­whelm­ing sad­ness and grief on a visit to Forbes’ alma mater last Fri­day. In a daze, stu­dents and teach­ers shared fond mem­o­ries of a young man whose am­bi­tion and life­long dream was to be­come a pi­lot.

“Had he been at Titch­field to­day, he would be in up­per 6th form or grade 13,” teacher Tr­isha Thomp­son noted, her face stained with tears.

“Romone was a pleas­ant and well-be­haved stu­dent, who showed kind­ness to ev­ery­one, and be­cause of his car­ing at­ti­tude, he was well loved and ap­pre­ci­ated. When we had Ca­reer Day, he would al­ways come dressed as a pi­lot, and there was one oc­ca­sion when we were more than con­vinced that he had prob­a­bly stolen a pi­lot’s uni­form.”

Best friend of the de­ceased, up­per sixth-for­mer Fitzroy Brown, be­moaned the loss of his child­hood friend, who he said played an in­te­gral role in his de­vel­op­ment.

“I haven’t eaten since Thurs­day,” said Brown.

“This must be a bad dream or per­haps a night­mare, which I hope to awake from. We were the best of friends, and he had a yearn­ing and a pas­sion to be­come a pi­lot. I re­mem­ber one teacher telling him in class some years ago that he would never be­come a pi­lot. But Romone stood up in class, looked at the teacher and said, ‘I guess I will just have to prove you wrong’.”

The young man said ever since pri­mary school, Forbes was fas­ci­nated by air­planes and was al­ways pre­tend­ing to fly an air­craft. He re­mem­bered his friend mak­ing a commitment to just about ev­ery stu­dent at Titch­field for a free plane ride once he had grad­u­ated from avi­a­tion school.

“He told me this was go­ing to be his last flight les­son and I was so happy for him. When I heard about the crash, I was in dis­be­lief, as there was no way this could have happened to him. He had so much to live for and peo­ple were back­ing him all the way. It is just not fair!” Brown ex­claimed in an­guish.

Titch­field High grieves the loss of one of their own

Eigh­teen-yearold trainee pi­lot Romone Forbes.

Tr­isha Thomp­son, Titch­field High School teacher.

Fitzroy Brown, Titch­field High School sixth-form stu­dent and best friend of Romone Forbes.

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