The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force (RVIPF) is leaning towards charging the driver involved in the vehicular accident that tore down ZBVI's 300-foot transmission tower at Baugher's Bay last Saturday, March 9.
RVIPF's spokesman, Sgt. Carl Mason related to BVI Platinum News that the driver was detained walking away from the scene on the morning of the accident.
According to Mason, the driver was treated and subsequently discharged from Peebles Hospital.
Sgt. Mason confirmed that the driver has been served with a notice of intended prosecution. He also confirmed no charges have been laid as yet and police are continuing their investigations.
Initial reports indicated that the driver was traveling west when he lost control of the vehicle. When BVI Platinum News arrived on the scene, the vehicle (PV 23523) was perched in an elevated position in a roadside tree. The driver was subsequently identified as Sydney Kazembe.
The accident took ZBVI off air temporarily.
Residents watch in amazement at the scene of the accident at Baugher's Bay. The twisted metal is the transmitter's mast, which stood about 300 feet above ground.
Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News
When contacted today, March 14, General Manager, Mr. Harvey Herbert stated that a new tower has been sourced from the United States and should arrive in the Territory shortly.
Asked about cost to replace the tower, Mr. Herbert stated that he could not provide a figure, but "it's a lot of money.
He explained that the station which broadcasts on 780 AM, is operating per normal, but its signal is unreachable for listeners the further away they get from Baugher's Bay. Listeners can also tune in online via the internet.
According to Mr. Herbert, the station has erected a `long wire´, a make shift antennae to transmit. He explained that they are licensed to transmit at 10,000 watts and would usually operate at 1,000 to 5, 000 watts.
Mr. Herbert said due to the accident, the station is broadcasting at 500 watts. He stated that many listeners have spoken to him and have offered words of encouragement that the station will return to normalcy quickly.
March 9, 2013 Article -
Vehicular Accident Knocks ZBVI Radio Off Air
Radio station ZBVI's transmitter at Baugher's Bay was completely leveled when a driver lost control of his vehicle, ran off the road and pulled down utility lines shortly after 4:00 am today, March 9.
Reports indicated that the driver was traveling west when he lost control of the vehicle.
When BVI Platinum News arrived on the scene, the vehicle (PV 23523) was perched in an elevated position between roadside shrubs.
According to information, the driver, identified as Sydney Kazembe, is in a stable condition at Peebles Hospital.
The incident knocked ZBVI off air and caused a temporary power outage to the area.
The radio station's mast appeared to have bent before collapsing, with a section hanging into the public road.
Senior management and staff of the radio station, which broadcasts on 780 AM, were also on the scene assessing the damage.
General Manager, Mr. Harvey Herbert walked the shoreline, a few yards from the station's office, pointing out to BVI Platinum News where the base of the mast was located.
He stated that the mast was some 300 feet above ground and was based at the location since 1965. Over the years, the mast had been modified.
"It was 300 feet, but now it's not even 3 feet," Mr. Herbert stated.
He lamented that the mast withstood several hurricanes, including Hugo, but was no match for the driver involved in the accident.
"Through difficult periods; all the storms that passed through the Territory we never had a problem and now this incident forced us off air. It's unbelievable and words cannot describe what happened here," Mr. Herbert stated.
He explained that the station will be unable to broadcast over the airwaves for some time, but should be able to stream via the internet once they have been given the all clear from technical experts.
Mr. Herbert stated that a technician in St. Thomas has been notified and should be in the Territory later today. The station is also making plans with the Department of Disaster Management to use an alternative transmitter.
Mr. Herbert stated that listeners across the BVI and Caribbean have been affected.
ZBVI is the only AM station currently operating in the BVI.