Thorough investigation into cause of Cessna crash will be undertaken – Minister Benn

Georgetown, GINA, January 22, 2014 –  Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn, in assuring the general travelling public that all efforts are being made towards ensuring safety in aircraft operations, and said that the Ministry and stakeholders have been examining additional surveillance measures.

Minister Benn expressed concerns over several aircraft incidents that have occurred in the recent past, reminding of an aircraft flipping at Ogle aerodrome one week before the Cessna Caravan crashed on January 18 in the mid Mazaruni, which cleft its pilot and loader dead.

“We have been discussing additional measures, additional oversights in respect of heightening the level of surveillance with respect to aircraft operations. Domestic flights particularly from the Ogle Aerodrome are our very high number. Ogle aerodrome which is now a regional airport has amongst the highest numbers, the highest levels of aircraft activity. Aircraft movements are around 50, 000 annually,” he added.

Thorough investigation into cause of Cessna crash will be undertaken-Minister Benn
Thorough investigation into cause of Cessna crash will be undertaken-Minister Benn

He said the entire system has been responding to increased levels of activities, and there are some things that the Ministry needs to look into, arriving from investigations of both aircraft.

“Overall we are doing re-assessments, we’re doing reviews as one of the mechanisms of the investigation to improve the activity we do for the Ministry…we want to ensure that we don’t have recurrences at this time,” Minister Benn stated.

He expressed condolence to the families of the deceased on behalf of the Ministry and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

The Cessna Caravan registration 8R-GHS crashed just after takeoff from Olive Creek in the Mazaruni. At the time there were two persons on board: Captain Blake Slater and a loader Dwayne Jacobs.  The aircraft was at the time on a shuttle operation carrying fuel between Olive Creek and Imbaimadai. The emergency call was broadcast at approximately 10:56hrs on January 18, and an aerial search commenced immediately. The dense forest canopy coupled with poor lighting, occasional poor weather and absence of an ELT signal proved challenging for the search team.

GDF Special Force Officers arrived at the crash location early Monday morning and discovered that both the Captain and the crew member had perished during the crash.           The bodies were extricated early Tuesday morning and were flown to Georgetown by midday.

In keeping with the protocols and procedures for accident investigations, the GCAA investigators have identified and commenced the interviewing of material witnesses and are gathering the necessary documentary and photographic evidence at site for analysis.

The GCAA is in contact with the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) of the USA, Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS), the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Suriname (CASAS), Cessna, the aircraft manufacturer and the engine Manufacturer, Pratt and Whitney.

The GCAA investigators are continuing to process the evidence at site and will be removing the necessary components of the aircraft for further analysis.