Aircraft spotted 2.6 miles from takeoff point
First order of business will be to remove personnel on board- Mohamed
THE Guyana Civil Aviation Authority(GCAA) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has been able to locate the exact area where a Trans Guyana Airways 700 Cessna Caravan 8r-GHS went down along with its pilot Blake Slater and cargo loader Dwayne Jacobs, Saturday morning.
Up to late yesterday afternoon GDF Special Forces were moved into the general area and were cutting their way through to reach the location where the wreck is lying after being spotted from the air by the GDF 2 Chopper.
However, despite sighting the craft it was difficult to get into the location so the Special Forces were transported to a proper point of discharge from where they began making their way on foot to the area.
Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority Zulfikar Mohamed told the media yesterday that the site where the craft was spotted has been assessed and the Special Forces then began moving in. At the time, yesterday, he admitted that despite the sighting of the aircraft neither the Special Forces nor the rescue coordinators were able to say, what was the status of the pilot and cargo loader.
He however made it clear, that there were two main priorities with respect to getting to the crash site. Once the plane is reached by the Special Forces the first order of the day will be to remove the personnel (dead or alive) with the second order of the day being to secure the site.
Once that is done the first set of persons expected to get access to the crash site will be investigators from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, Mohamed said. He said that this is necessary because based on all information received prior to the going down of the plane or while it was going down and the actual evidence at the location will be very vital to the investigation and in determining what might have caused the crash.
Meanwhile, Air Traffic Control Manager, Rickford Samaroo told the media that based on the initial information received on Saturday both on the ground and from persons who might have seen and heard something before the plane went down and the last transmission sent by the pilot, the plane was able to be sighted.
He said that the information was all reviewed on Saturday night when the search team returned to the command centre and the unnecessary information was discarded and all others taken into account. Those information which were received on Saturday in the end revealed that the location where the plane was spotted, yesterday, was approximately 2.6 miles from the heading of Olive Creek where the craft took off from.
The approximate fly time before the crash site was found and confirmed is said to have been 11 hours and included two Cessna aircraft and two choppers – one from the GDF and the other from Air Services Limited.
The media was informed that the team which was initially on the ground from Saturday had among its personnel, one medical personnel from the Guyana Defence Force while the command centre reported that as there is daylight today, medical personnel, this time from the Georgetown Public Hospital and a police officer and investigators from the GCAA, will travel to the location.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been informed of the development and is in contact with the Canadian authorities with respect to the pilot while the next of kin to the cargo loader has also been informed.
The area where the craft was located yesterday was not very far from where the search and rescue team were initially searching on Saturday for the aircraft.
(By Leroy Smith)