GDF ambulance service was among first at the scene-Minister Benn
Caribbean Airlines Plane Crash …
-government had done exact stimulation two years ago
Two years ago Government had done the almost exact scenario of a “plane crash” just about a 100 yards from where the Caribbean Airlines flight Boeing 737-800 crash landed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri on Saturday.
Transportation Minister, Robeson Benn made this disclosure at a press briefing at the airport, hours after the incident happened.
The Minister explained that emergency workers had done the exact thing, with the exclusion of fire stimulation.
Benn, while responding to questions about the “response time” said that he could not rate the response time for the emergency crew, but noted that will be brought out in the final report of the accident.
The Minister said that one has to be very careful when making statements about the incident, when he was questioned about if they needed to rethink the emergency system.
Benn explained that the ambulance service from the Guyana Defence Force at Farm, East Bank Demerara was one of the first at the site.
He further explained that the Guyana Fire Service was also there to offer emergency assistance.
“One ambulance was taking four persons to the hospital …more ambulances were on the way, also three doctors had set up a triage area at the scene,” the Minister explained.
“The Fire Service was there with water and foam….to suppress any fire if any had started,” Benn stated.
The Minister further told the media that he is aware that the passengers and crew members on board the aircraft managed to evacuate quickly.
He also highlighted the fact that airport personnel were also some of the first set of people to arrive at the scene.
Issues of squatting……
During the press briefing the Minister brought up the issue of persons squatting near the airport.
According to Benn, persons who squat near the runway pose a threat for themselves and also aircraft. He said that it was regrettable that people continue to be so close to the runway.
In the past, the Minister had told Kaieteur News that the squatting issue is still nagging at airport management and the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority.
Kaieteur News was told that Government has been planning to build a mall near the airport and to remove several of the roadside bars and snackettes located along the roadway leading to the facilities.
However, the process is far from over. Under regulations, a three-mile radius around the airport and runway should be kept clear of activities that could affect the safe operations of the planes that land and take off daily.
According to Benn, the airport and his Ministry had attracted severe flack after moves were made to remove a number of squatters.
On Saturday morning the flight BW523, en route from Port of Spain, Trinidad to Georgetown crash landed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, ran off the runway and broke into two at around 01:32 Saturday morning.
All 157 passengers and six crew members walked away without serious injuries.
The plane had originally left JFK, New York. The crew was switched in Trinidad for the journey onward to Guyana, Caribbean Airlines said.
“It’s an absolute miracle what happened here in Georgetown,” said Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) Chairman George Nicholas, who flew into Guyana with top executives of the Trinidad government-owned airline.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago arrived in the country hours after the incident and was taken on a tour of the wreck site.
A teary-eyed Persad-Bissessar told local journalists at the airport that the Trinidad government was saddened at what happened and called the survival of all the passengers and crew nothing short of a miracle.
On board the flight were 96 American passport holders (most of whom are believed to be Guyanese), 44 Guyanese passport holders and 12 Canadian passport holders.
Neither the government nor the airline is giving any preliminary thoughts on how the crash happened, but Persad-Bissessar called for a speedy investigation, and said her government was willing to help.
“Obviously something did go wrong,” she said.
Earlier in the day, Minister Benn suggested the investigation could go on for months.
He could not say unequivocally if all airport systems were in place at the time of the accident.
Caribbean Airlines disclosed that the pilot who was commanding the aircraft at the time has been flying to Guyana for the past 25 years.
Benn said that at the time of the accident there was a light shower with visibility of eight kilometers, which is good visibility to allow for a safe landing.
Local Army and Police have secured the scene of the crash to allow for the investigations.