Soldiers getting closer to wreckage

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 December 2015, 21:00 by GxMedia

Guyanese Special Forces soldiers were up to late Sunday night about 100 meters away from the site where a single-engine Cessna Caravan airplane crashed a day earlier, Transport Minister Robeson Benn said.

He said light failed and the weather was poor, preventing the soldiers from pressing on in the very thick jungle and swampy terrain.

Former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) pilot, Gerry Gouveia who was part of the air-search component of the search and rescue mission said given the terrain it could take about two hours on foot to cover 100 meters. Gouveia praised the work of the search and rescue team. “This was a great team effort by everybody,” he said.

The soldiers were also expected to clear a helipad near the crash site so that other soldiers and medical personnel could be transported there to extract Canadian Pilot, Blake Slater and Cargo Loader, Guyanese Dwayne Newton.

They were aboard the Trans Guyana Airways plane bearing registration number 8R-GHS on shuttle flight from Olive Creek to Imbaimadai when the pilot reported engine failure and that the plane was going down about 10:56 AM, two minutes after take-off.

The wreckage was spotted at 12:34 Sunday afternoon. Its wings have been broken off but the fuselage remained intact, Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) told a news briefing.

Gouveia’s account on his Facebook Profile about Sunday;’s activity states: “After we located and positively identified the aircraft below the jungle canopy on the jungle floor , we then search for and identified a suitable landing pad to use as a staging area for the GDF special forces men to proceed over land to the crash site.

They are expected to reach the site sometime tonight late and cut open an area close to the site for the helicopter to begin the extraction. It’s harsh and hostile jungle. At this time we have no information on the crew condition. We saw no movement.”