Aircraft skids off Port Kaituma runway

The pilot of a Trans Guyana Airways (TGA) aircraft and four passengers escaped with minor injuries after a Britten Norman Islander aircraft skidded off the Port Kaituma runway in Region One late yesterday morning.

According to reports, the pilot was attempting to land the aircraft, bearing registration 8R-GHD at Port Kaituma when it skidded off the runway during rainy weather.

Reports out of the area are that while the rain was pouring in the area, some time after 11.30 am yesterday, the aircraft circled the aerodrome and when the weather cleared, the pilot made an attempt to land. According to an aviation source, there were pockets of water on the runway at the time of the landing, and he noted that the aircraft’s landing gear (wheels) skidded along the runway after coming into contact with the water.

The damaged aircraft at Port Kaituma yesterday

He said that pilot error may play a key role in the investigations, adding that the aircraft touched down at a significant distance along the length of the runway. According to an eyewitness, after the aircraft landed, the aircraft continued down the runway at a considerable speed , “but the pilot like she made a desperate attempt to save it from running into some houses which they have at the end there.“

He said that the pilot was able to force the aircraft off of the runway and it subsequently veered into the aerodrome’s perimeter fence. “This is like similar to that Caribbean Airlines incident, only thing is a smaller aircraft, luckily no one was injured severely,“ a resident in the area told Stabroek News and an aviation source confirmed last evening that the both incidents bore similarities.

The passengers and the female pilot, who were said to be attached to a sister company of the airline, were taken to the Port Kaituma hospital where they were treated by medical staff for the injuries they sustained.

The incident was reported to air traffic services at the Timehri Control Tower and a team of investigators attached to the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) travelled into the area soon after the incident to commence their investigations. The wings as well as the nose of the aircraft were severely damaged while the three wheels were also broken.

An aviation source noted that the aircraft sustained major damage, adding that the airline will have to spend a considerable sum of money to make the aeroplane operational again.

Yesterday’s incident was the second to occur on a Saturday over the past several weeks, in which the pilot and the aircraft in question were involved. On Saturday July 2 this year, the pilot was operating the said aircraft from the Olive Creek airstrip in the Mazaruni to the Ogle Municipal Airport when the aircraft lost power in one of its engines. She was forced to make an emergency landing at the Baganara airstrip in the Essequibo River with more than 5 passengers on board.

Subsequent investigations determined that the pilot had forgotten to switch on the fuel gauge leading to one of the aircraft engines.

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