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No sighting of missing plane in Guyana

Captain Nicky Persaud

After a more than six hour search for a missing plane, with two persons aboard, a search and rescue mission came up empty-handed and called off their operation at sunset Sunday until day-break Monday, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said in a statement.

The GCAA said the Britten Norman Islander, bearing registration number 8R-GHE, went missing while on a flight between Mahdia and Karisparu in Region 8 (Potaro/Siparuni). Aboard the twin-engine aircraft were Pilot Nickey Persaud, 27, and cargo loader, 51-year old David Bisnauth.

The Authority said that six aircraft, including two helicopters, carried out a six hours, 40-minute search over the area but there was no sighting of the plane.

“The search continued until sunset and the two helicopters and one  Cessna Caravan are at Mahdia and will recommence search at sunrise tomorrow (December 28, 2014).

Other aircraft from ASL will depart early tomorrow (Monday) morning to join the search efforts and take in the GCAA Coordinators and Investigation team. The GDF helicopter is also on standby to join the search and rescue operation. To date, 6 hours and 40 minutes search time was logged by four  fixed wing aircraft and two helicopters,” said the GCAA.

According to the authority, the  Timehri Air Traffic Control lost communication around noon today, December 28 with the plane.

Facts are: The Cessna Britten Norman Islander took off from Mahdia at 15:42 UTC (11:42 local time) on a routine local cargo flight and the last known position was Spot Tracker hit at 15:44 UTC (11:44 local time). The aircraft was estimated to arrive Karisparu at 16:00 UTC (12:00 local time).

At 16:20, Timehri Air Traffic Control made contact with the aircraft operator to establish whether the aircraft landed before implementing a search and rescue operation.

After no information was received, the Air Traffic Control commenced the ‘alert phase’ and the Rescue Coordination Center at the Timehri Control Tower was activated.

In the meantime, two Air Services Ltd. (ASL) Cessna 208 Caravan flying within the area were vectored to commence search for the aircraft. A Piper Cherokee from Hinterland Aviation also joined the search efforts. An ASL Bell Helicopter also departed Ogle Airport to join the search for the aircraft.

Additionally, an ASL Caravan departed for Mahdia at 16:16 local time with a GDF Special Forces Unit to assist in the search and rescue operation.