5 injured after aircraft crash-lands at Eccles dumpsite
By Rupa Seenaraine
Five passengers were injured after an aircraft crashed on Saturday morning, involving a Roraima Airways Trislander plane at the Haags-Bosch landfill site, East Bank Demerara (EBD).
It was about 11:30h when the aircraft, destined for the Eugene F Correia International Airport, made what was considered an emergency landing at a swamp-like section of the sanitary landfill site. Carrying three passengers and two crew members, the flight had initially departed from the community of Imbaimadai, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), at 10:20h on Saturday.
Minutes before the bizarre dive, residents in Perseverance and other neighbouring communities on the East Bank spotted the plane flying considerably lower near their homes, prompting an alarm. It would then hover for some time before making a nosedive into the landfill.
As it hit the ground, emergency services were called in. A search and rescue operation was immediately activated by the Timehri Control Tower, and operatives from the Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Police Force were mobilised and dispatched to the scene of the incident.
Passengers and crew members were extracted by the firefighters and transported to the Guyana Defence Force’s Camp Ayanganna base via a Bell 412 Helicopter, where they were taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
When this publication arrived at the scene, officials from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority were assessing the situation. Officers cordoned off the scene of the crash pending an investigation.
Speaking with media operatives, Fire Chief Kalamadeen Edoo shared that they received reports of the crash at about 11:41h and immediately dispatched responders.
“Immediately, we dispatched two tenders – one from the Central Fire Station and the West Ruimveldt Fire Station. Upon arrival at the scene, the persons in the aircraft were already air-dashed to the Georgetown Public Hospital so the investigation is ongoing as to the nature and cause of what transpired,” the Fire Chief said.
When contacted, Public Relations Officer at GPHC, Cheulana Providence indicated that the passengers: a 53-year-old male, 43-year-old female and a two-year-old girl also received injuries but none were considered life threatening according to initial medical evaluations.
“All of them are conscious and alert. They’re just being treated for their injuries. The adult female has the most injuries. She has trauma to her head, a laceration to her eye and she’s complaining of some pain in her hip and her leg. She has the most injuries but she’s awake and able to communicate.”
The two pilots later arrived in the emergency room, where they too were treated.
“They’re conscious and alert. They don’t have any major injuries and they’re being looked at,” Providence added.
After the situation unfolded, Roraima Airways issued a statement detailing that the cause of the accident was unknown.
“Roraima Airways would like to sincerely thank the GDF for its rapid response and dispatch of the BELL 412 Helicopter to the accident site. We would also like to thank the Guyana Police Force, the GPHC and the Sherriff Medical ambulance services for their prompt and efficient emergency response. The cause of the accident is unknown at this time,” the Airways said it its missive with other corresponding details.
However, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill subsequently divulged that the aircraft reportedly experienced mechanical difficulties and the GCAA will lead an investigation.
“The aircraft was reported to have experienced mechanical difficulties. There were three passengers on board the aircraft with one experiencing minor injuries…The GCAA has dispatched its investigation team to the scene of the incident to commence the investigation,” a statement pointed out.
The pilots navigating the plane – Learie Constantine Barclay and Ryan Prashad – came in for high praise in the manner in which they successfully handled the situation.
This episode has occurred just over two weeks since another Roraima Airways aircraft was involved in an accident at the Aricheng airstrip, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). The Britten-Norman Islander plane was registered to Roraima Airways and reports indicate that the plane was transporting fuel at the time of the incident.