July 30, 2011 by staff
Commercial Guyana, A Caribbean Airlines plane from New York crashed and broke in two on landing in Guyana with 163 people aboard on Saturday, causing several injuries but no deaths, said President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The Boeing 737-800, apparently out of 7400 feet (2,200 meters) runway at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in rainy weather and cannon through a metal fence. That came close to a 200 feet (60 meters) cliff that could have caused dozens of deaths, he said.
“We are very grateful that more people were not injured,” said the authorities temporarily close the airport, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded and delayed dozens of flights. The cause was not immediately clear.
Authorities struggled at first to remove passengers without proper field lights and other emergency equipment. About 100 people received medical care, with four hospitalized for serious injuries, and said devant Maharaj, Minister of Transport, in Trinidad, where Caribbean Airlines is based.
He said the company is sending a team to Guyana to help investigate the accident. No further details were available. Maharaj was speaking at a press conference in Trinidad and took no questions and said the investigation is ongoing.
Among the wounded Ramsingh Geeta, 41, of Philadelphia, who said the passengers had begun to applaud the touchdown “when he spoke loudly,” he said, pointing to the bruises on her knees. She said she jumped on the wing and then the dirt road outside the fence of the track.
“It bothers me that nobody came to rescue us from the darkness, but a taxi driver came out of nowhere and charged me 20 to take me to the terminal. I had to pay, but in emergencies, do not charge people to take a ride, “he said, sitting in a chair in the finish area, surrounded by her family. She returned to her native country for the second time in 30 years.
Adis Cambridge, 42, of Guyana, said he felt the beat of a hard landing, but not thinks much of it until seconds later.
“I realized that everything was all over me, people and bags. I was the second of the last person to leave the plane in the dark,” he said, surrounded by her two young children who had arrived at the airport reunited with her after a brief holiday in the U.S.
“I’ve beaten my head against the ceiling. It was very frightening,” he said in describing jumping on the wing and then jumps onto the dirt road beneath teams like the beams of flashlights and search engines in the fire passengers.
Some of the passengers asked the authorities for their luggage, but they said it was not a priority in time.
The plane had left New York and made a stop in Trinidad before landing in Guyana. The airline said it carried 157 passengers and crew of six.
Jagdeo said he has asked the U.S. National Council for Transport Safety to help investigate the accident.
The airport’s main terminal reopened Saturday morning just a couple of small planes, including an airline LIAT to Barbados said Orin Walton, a local representative of the company based in Antigua.
The crash of Flight BW523 is the worst in the recent history of Guyana, and only one of the few serious incidents related to the Trinidad-based airline. It is the largest carrier in the region, operating at least five daily flights.
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