THE lifeless body of Air Services Limited (ASL) pilot, Captain Imran Khan was recovered some time before nightfall after the Cessna 206 aircraft he was flying crashed in the interior on Sunday.
Khan’s body was located more than two miles north of the mining community of Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).
Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Director-General, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Egbert Field, said all efforts will be made to fly the body to the city by first light.
“… by the time they got there, we were already too late,” Field said of the Special Force’s unit that had to trek almost three hours in dense jungle to get to the crash site.
Khan had been on shuttle duty and was returning from Chai Chai to Mahdia when contact was lost with his carrier.
From an aerial view, the single-engine aircraft seemed to have flipped sideways on landing since there was clear view of its fuselage.
The GCAA director-general told the Guyana Chronicle that both of wings of the aircraft were broken off. Given the unforgiving terrain, the rescue teams had to overnight at the crash site.
Field said just after 09:00 hrs, the authority received a report of the missing carrier and explained that an Emergency Locater Transmitter (ELT) signal was picked up north of Mahdia.
He said the flight had missed its scheduled landing at Mahdia, which was supposed to be some time around 08:45 hrs.
A team comprising Guyana Defence Force and police ranks was immediately dispatched on a search-and-rescue mission called operation “Hawk Eye.”
National Air Transport Association President Annette Arjoon-Martins, who spoke on behalf of ASL, told this publication that after contact was lost with the aircraft, five planes were immediately dispatched to the identified location.
She said a Trans Guyana Airways aircraft joined the search, as well as two ASL helicopters.
Arjoon-Martins said ASL has been in communication with the pilot’s brother, who is the only family member residing in Guyana.
The relative is expected to travel to the city from Essequibo today. Khan had been working with the company for almost seven years.
Arjoon -Martins expressed gratitude to other aviation operators, the Special Forces and the support of the GCAA for their “tremendous” effort in speedily locating the dead pilot.
GCAA investigators will be flown to the crash site today.
Sunday’s plane crash is the third to occur in less than two months, two of which resulted in fatalities.
Roraima Airways pilot, Colin Martin, perished on July 25 when his Britten-Norman Islander aircraft crashed on landing at Eteringbang, in Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni).
Two weeks later, the Britten Norman Islander Captain Dominic Waddel was flying also went down in the Eteringbang area, but he escaped with minor injuries.
In December 2014, ASL’s Britten Norman Islander, registered as 8R-GHE disappeared while on a routine shuttle operation from Mahdia to Karisparu, Region Eight.
The pilot, Captain Nicholas Persaud, 27, cargo handler David Bisnauth, 51, and the aircraft have not been found.