“It’s an absolute miracle what happened here in Georgetown.”
Those words by Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) Chairman George Nicholas summed up the outcome of a plane crash with 157 passengers and six crew members that saw no fatalities and only two cases of serious injury.
The Airline was not immediately prepared to say what caused the crash. Caribbean Airlines disclosed that the pilot who was commanding the aircraft at the time has been flying to Guyana for the past 25 years.
The United States National Transportation Safety Board and Guyana’s Civil Aviation Authority will be probing the crash that occurred at around 01:32hrs on Saturday.
Local Army and Police have secured the scene of the crash as they await the retrieval of the black box and voice data recorder.
The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, ran off the runway and broke into two. It was acquired by the company in 2007 at a cost of US$38 million.
The accident affected all flights coming into Guyana for a few hours, but the airport is operating as per normal again.
The Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri, is the country’s only international airport.
The flight was # BW523, en route from Port of Spain, Trinidad to Georgetown. It had originally left JFK in Trinidad.
“Caribbean Airlines immediately activated its emergency response programme and is in direct contact with the relevant authorities. The airline’s primary concern at this time is for those on board the aircraft and their families,” CAL said in a statement.
Nicholas said Caribbean Airlines is putting together a team of psychologists and other health personnel to counsel passengers and crew members.
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