– pilot, loader
Aviation officials have dispatched a search party to an area just outside Mahdia in the Potaro-Siparuni Region Eight area, following the disappearance of an Air Services Limited (ASL) aircraft which lost contact with authorities shortly after taking off for Karisparu, also in the Potaro-Siparuni region.
The Britten Norman Islander (8R-GHE) said to be carrying the pilot Nicky Persaud, 27 and cargo-handler David Bisnauth 51, lost tower connection about 10 minutes after leaving the take off point. They were said to be carrying mining supplies.
According to a release from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) six aircraft were deployed in the search and rescue mission for the missing aircraft. The release said the “Timehri Air Traffic Control lost communication around noon with the Air Services Ltd Britten Norman Islander 8R-GHE that was operating between Mahdia and Karisparu.”
Captain Persaud and Bisnauth, 51, were onboard the twin-engine aircraft which took off from Mahdia at 11:42hours on a routine local cargo flight. The aircraft was scheduled to arrive at Karisparu at 12:00hours.
At 16:20hours, Timehri Air Traffic Control made contact with the aircraft operator to establish whether the aircraft landed before implementing a search and rescue operation. However, no information was received, the aviation authorities said, and the Air Traffic Control commenced the ‘alert phase’ and the Rescue Coordination Center at the Timehri Control Tower was activated.
It was stated that two Air Services Ltd. (ASL) Cessna 208 Caravan flying within the area were vectored to commence the search for the aircraft. A Piper Cherokee from Hinterland Aviation and an ASL Bell Helicopter also joined the search.
Additionally, an ASL Caravan departed for Mahdia at 16:16hours with a GDF Special Forces Unit to assist in the search and rescue operation.
The search continued until sunset and the two helicopters and Cessna Caravan are at Mahdia waiting to recommence the exercise at sunrise today.
Other aircraft from ASL will also depart early this morning to join the forces and take in the GCAA Coordinators and Investigation team. The GDF helicopter is also on standby. A six hour and 40 minutes search time was logged by four fixed wing aircraft and the two helicopters that participated in the search.
ASL’s General Manager Annette Arjoon-Martins told Kaieteur News yesterday that the Company is vigorously pursuing search efforts along with other aviation bodies.
She said that ASL immediately dispatched company carriers in search of the missing plane. About half an hour later she said, the company’s helicopters were also dispatched, while the country’s military was placed on standby.
While it is still unclear what would have happened to the twin engine carrier and its occupants, officials have speculated that current weather conditions may not be the best suited for flying in that part of the Region.
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