Ogle Plane crash…Telephone Company should have record of telephone usage – GCAA

Should there be any truth to the allegation that the pilot of the Cessna 206 aircraft which went down in January was allegedly using his cell phone during takeoff; the telephone company would have a record of such occurrence.

The Fenix Airways Cessna that crashed in early January remain at the GuySuCo Hanger at the Ogle Airport.

This is according to Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Zulphicar Mohamed. Mohamed was at the time answering questions pertaining to allegations made against Fenix Airways pilot, Raul Seecharran who was reportedly using his cell phone during a takeoff flight at the Ogle International Airport.

The single engine Cessna 206, which was being flown by the pilot veered off the runway and flipped a few times before landing belly up. Three passengers were onboard. They accused him of using his cell phone while taking off, and the GCAA related that they had written to the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) for proof of this.

Mohamed told Kaieteur News that if the pilot was texting during takeoff the phone company should be able to provide a record of the phone that was used; even if the particular activity being performed at the time is not specified.

An operator in the telecommunications sector has noted however that the telephone company can “most times” show an activity being performed on a phone; including data such as short message service (sms). The GCAA head has reiterated however, that he will not make the findings available until the probe of the accident is completed. Mohamed told Kaieteur News that he had not yet received the information he was looking for; but even if he did it would not be made available, “as it is part of the investigation.”

Mohamed reminded that information on plane crashes are not public information until the investigation is complete.

The GCAA head was however, unable to say whether the pilot was indeed given his documents and the green light to return to flying. Allegations by some members of the aviation fraternity, was that the pilot was given the okay to restart flying despite the probe against him. Mohamed said that the pilot’s license could be returned after a certain amount of time.

Fenix Airways’ Administrator and Finance Manager, Eddie Deolall had told Kaieteur News recently that the pilot had not yet returned to work with the company.

The Fenix pilot was accused by passengers onboard the Kato Region Eight bound flight of texting while the plane sped down the runway. One woman, Zoreena Ali said she was sitting right next to the pilot and was able to see what he was doing during the particular time.

Members of the Aircraft Owners Association of Guyana (AOAG) had noted however the need for every accident probe to be made available to the public, while mentioning the need to speed up the investigation process.  In a National Aviation Action Plan the AOAG proposed that for independent aircraft accident investigations, a statutory body should be established, improved enforcement capabilities and added staff within one to two years for the GCAA.

Members of the aviation fraternity, specifically veteran pilot and aircraft owner, Gerry Gouveia had also expressed concern over the GCAA conducting probes when they themselves could become the centre of an investigation based on their performance as the regulatory body.

While members of the AOAG expressed their ignorance towards the allegations against the Fenix pilot, they however, expressed disgust towards the allegations and reminded that aviation is a serious business with safety being the number one focus.

Mohamed had said that investigations into the Ogle crash had commenced, while the Fenix-owned Cessna was already being examined. It was mentioned that pivotal parts of the plane was removed and sent overseas for examination. Kaieteur News has learnt however, that the plane remains in the same condition at the GuySuCo hangar where it is housed.

Several aviation affiliates have complained about the increased number of plane crashes taking place and the lax attitude in finding the root cause of these matters. Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn, following another plane crash in the interior which took the lives of a pilot and his cargo loader, had also expressed his concern in this regard.

Source: Kaieteur News