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Trans Guyana says plane crash due to manufacturer’s fault; makes several changes in line with investigators’ report

Improved ‘tie-down’ method of fuel drums aboard a Trans Guyana Airways’ Cessna Caravan aircraft.

Trans Guyana Airways (TGA) on Friday highlighted that it was not responsible for the crash of a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan that killed a Canadian pilot and a Guyanese cargo loader, but announced that steps in line with several other findings have been put in place to cushion the impact of any crash of its cargo flights on those aboard.

The domestic airline stressed that it was no way responsible for the crash of its Cessna 208B Grand Caravan while on a shuttle from Olive Creek to Imbaimadai on January 18, 2014.

“It was determined that the engine lost power as a result of the engine manufacturer’s fault and not from any maintenance oversight on the part of the maintenance provider nor from pilot error,” said the airline in a statement.

TGA sought to make it clear that the actual cause of the accident was determined when the engine was stripped and examined by the engine manufacturer, under the supervision of the NTSB, as the report states, from “lost power” of the engine “due to the fracture of one 1st stage compressor stator vane by fatigue.”

The domestic carrier also revealed that it has implemented systems to help locate its aircraft in case there is such an emergency.

The new measures followed findings by local and overseas investigators what caused the crash and how Canadian Captain Blake Slater and Aircraft Loader, Dwayne Jacobs, lost their lives. 

TGA said the actual cause of the accident was determined when the engine was stripped and examined by the engine manufacturer, & Whitney Corp (PW&C), Canada, under the supervision of the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Since the Cessna 208B accident, TGA said all tie-down straps have been replaced with more sturdy ones that provide enhanced crash load restraint and a Flight Operations Officer is stationed at interior locations to prepare the relevant documentations for each flight. The carrier also disclosed that Ramp Attendants have been trained at all locations in Aircraft Loading, Tie Down procedures and General Ramp Safety Procedures. In the case of the Aircraft Loader’s seat, that has been changed from behind the pilot to the co-pilot’s seat.

The probe found that the tie down method used was not effective because it only effectively secured the three drums that were lying flat on the floor. The four drums that were standing upright were not restrained. The drums that were not restrained shifted during the crash and cargo.This was because the cargo barrier; a physical object between the cockpit and cargo was not used. However investigators said that Trans Guyana was justified in not using the barrier as their cargo did not meet the requirement where it would have needed to take up 75 percent of the cargo space.

The post mortem examination on the planes’ occupants showed that Slater died from multiple injuries suffered to his head, neck, brain, spine, lungs and heart among other internal and external areas. The cargo handler died by asphyxiation due to crush injuries to the chest compounded by blunt trauma to the head. He too sustained multiple injuries internally and externally.

TGA said it has since upgraded its Spot Tracking devices to spot every two and a half minutes instead of every ten minutes.

Possible forced landing sites have been identified along the shuttle routes and programed in the GPSs for easy access in the case of emergencies, according to TGA.

“It is the policy of TGA that the Safety Management System function to ensure compliance with established systems and procedures as detailed in our Operations Manual and to ensure that the standards are maintained by all departments on a continuous basis,” said the airline.

TGA said it has implemented a continuous monitoring approach to ensure that areas of non-conformity are addressed in a timely and suitable manner to ensure continuity of standards and the corrective action must be such to prevent the recurrence.

Investigators found that the Cessna Caravan that Slater was flying had even drums of fuel onboard and the company had no system in place for preparation of load sheets for shuttles from its sub-base, Olive Creek where the flight had taken off from heading to Imbaimadai; thus none was prepared for the flight.

The investigation was done by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority  (GCAA) supported by the Transport Safety Board (TSB) of Canada, the NTSB and Pratt & Whitney Corp (P&WC), Canada.