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GUYANA: Search and rescue mission for missing plane comes up empty handed

A Guyana Defence Force (GDF) helicopter leaving Mahdia to commence its search. (GCAA photo)

Search and rescue teams triangulated a search area approximately 20 miles west and south of Mahdia Tuesday, December 29 for the missing Britten Norman Islander aircraft 8R-GHE which disappeared on Sunday, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said.

The authority said that the expanse of dense jungle is within the area of interest as determined by map terrain information and aircraft sighting while taking into consideration the last known position of the aircraft.

The mountainous area – up to 700 meters high – was overflown including Echerak and North Fork in search for Captain Nicky Persaud, aged 27 with 8,000 flying hours and vast experience operating in this area; and David Bisnauth who were onboard the aircraft when contact was lost.

The twin-engine aircraft’s last known position via “Spot Tracker” was 3.8 nautical miles south of Mahdia – a mere two minutes after it departed Mahdia airstrip. The aircraft was expected to reach Karisparu at midday.

Weather conditions enroute to Karisparu, an Amerindian community, was reported as ‘bad’ at the time of the flight, according to the GCAA.

Regrettably, according to the GCAA, the second day of search yielded no sightings of the aircraft. Eleven hours and 24 minutes were accumulated by search aircraft on this second day, bringing the total search hours flown to 18 hours and four minutes.

Included in the Monday’s search were two fixed wing aircraft and three rotor wing aircraft including one Guyana Defence Force (GDF) helicopter. GCAA Investigators and GDF Special Forces remain on standby in Mahdia for possible extraction.

Medical personnel are also on standby at Mahdia District Hospital and the Georgetown Public Hospital (GHPC).

All aspects of the operation are being coordinated from the Rescue Coordination Centre at the Timehri Control Tower. Present are officials from the Ministry of Public Works; Ministry of Health; GCAA; Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA); GDF Air Corps, Air Services Ltd and the Guyana Police Force.

Mahdia is a hub for operations into locations in the escarpment. This flight was taking supplies to Karisparu.

The Operation will recommence tomorrow, December 30 at sunrise.