Both of the men who perished in the plane crash on Saturday have been positively identified by family and colleagues.
Stabroek News was told that 54-year-old Canadian engineer Nick Dmitriev’s body was positively identified by relatives who arrived in the country subsequent to his death. Relatives of 71-year-old American Pierre Angiel have not yet arrived to identify his body, but George Fraser, another member of the five-man survey team and its Project Manager yesterday said that he positively identified the man’s body. However, he was uncertain if his identification will suffice. Post-mortem examinations have not yet been conducted.
Meanwhile, local authorities say that the two men were not here to carry out a survey of the Amalia Falls access road, but other aspects related to the project.
On Saturday, an American-registered N27-FT Piper Aztec plane reportedly encountered engine trouble, which sent it crashing into a Graham Street, Sparendaam Housing Scheme residence belonging to 69-year-old Florence Dyer-Tyndall. The house, at Lot 78 Sparendaam burned to the ground as a result of the crash.
On the scene of the accident Transport Minister Robeson Benn had said that the men, who were part of a larger team of five, were contracted to carry out a LiDAR survey for the Amalia Falls hydropower access road so as to determine the best geometrical and other alignments for the road. This comment sparked an array of questions from many, including members of the opposition as to why, after all this time, a survey of the road had not been conducted. Furthermore, since the Ministry of Public Works had reported that the road was about 60% completed, many questioned how works could be so far along without the crucial survey.
Attempts to clarify the issue revealed that the team was not contracted to conduct a survey of the road, in fact “the survey of the road was conducted a long time ago,” according to an engineer close the project.
Instead the men were said to be conducting a LiDAR survey for the project’s Reservoir Area, Dam Site and Transmission Line Corridor. These components are said to be essential to the completion of the project, especially the transmission line corridor which will transfer power from the hydro station to populated areas once it is concluded.
When asked whether a mistake had been made when explaining the men’s mission, Benn said the flights were being made around the last portion of the road to facilitate the survey of the transmission line corridor. He explained that his initial statements were indeed accurate since the works were being done in the vicinity of the access road.
Stabroek News understands that the team was contracted by Sithe Global, the body tasked with developing the Amalia Falls Hydro Project and had arrived in the country on April 1, while the plane arrived a day after. So far the team had flown six missions, and would have concluded the survey by tomorrow depending on weather conditions.