Posted: Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015. 12:45 p.m. CST
By Chrisbert Garcia: From October 27th, when a Piper PA 34 Seneca airplane landed at the Municipal Airstrip in Belize City, no owner had come forth to claim it nor could the pilot be located until the Ministry of National Security was contacted by an American who says he rented the plane to a client and never got it back.
The plane which was flown to the Belize Defense Force (BDF) compound for safe keeping, is now being claimed by an American man named James Stalling who claims that he owns an aircraft rental service in the United States (US) and through an online transaction, rented the Seneca to a man known only as ‘Mister Clapman’.
Clapman took the airplane on October 18th and was supposed to return it by October 23rd but Stallings said he began getting worried when the plane was not returned on the due date and Clapman then told him that he was sick in bed and couldn’t return the plane until two days later, which was Sunday October 25th.
When Monday October 26th came and there was no sign of Clapman, the police, the Federal Aviation Administration and Civil Air Patrol, all US authorities, were contacted by Stalling but they had no records of departure or flight plans for the Seneca and by that time, Clapman had stopped answering text messages.
Later that same week, Stalling was contacted by an employee of the Municipal Airport, who asked if he owned the aircraft, to which he said yes and offered to provide all necessary documents to prove that he was indeed the owner. It is still being decided if Stalling will be able to retain his aircraft.
As for Clapman, Belizean authorities say they have not seen or heard from him and don’t know if any other international agencies have had any success finding him.
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