Investigations are ongoing into the circumstances surrounding the plane crash that claimed the life of Roraima Airways’ chief pilot, Collin Winston Martin on Tuesday evening at Eteringbang, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).
Martin was killed after the plane he was flying crashed into the dense jungle a short distance from the Eteringbang airstrip.
Captain Martin, who was flying solo at the time of the incident was returning from Ekereku, with another Roraima- owned aircraft behind him when the incident occurred around 5:30pm.
Contacted for an update last evening, Aircraft Accident Investigator Paula McAdam told this newspaper that a team went into the area. “We took pictures and we interviewed a few people who were on the ground there. Basically nobody saw what happened.”
She stated that the next step is to retrieve the engines from the plane where they will then be sent to the factory so that a strip report can be conducted. “Other investigators will have to go back because we have some stuff to do in connection to getting the engines out. There will be another trip going into the site shortly,” she stated, while adding it is far too early to say when the investigations will be completed.
Meanwhile, a source close to the investigation also told this newspaper that “people saw the aircraft come down, turn left and was going into land but no one actually saw what happened to the aircraft.”
On Tuesday evening Chief Executive Officer of the airline Captain Gerry Gouveia had said that Martin was instrumental in carrying out several medical evacuations over the years. “He is actually our chief pilot. Ex-army major, he was in the Special Forces. He was an experienced and wonderful pilot. This is a great loss to Roraima. The entire Roraima team is very much shaken at the moment.”
“He has been working for us approximately 5 to 6 years and he is actually our star medical evacuation pilot. Following the death of Captain Alvin Clarke, Captain Martin saved many lives at night all over this country. His loss is a great loss to Guyana as well. It is a big void that is left with his death,” the CEO said.
Friend and co-worker Learie Constantine Barclay also related that Martin’s loss would be a great one to the Roraima family. “He was a very experienced and dedicated, conscientious, well trained pilot and extremely courageous. He took over the night medevac service so he was the person who would fly many of the night medical evacuation services and was trained by Captain Clarke and Captain Gouveia. This is a great loss on a personal level and a family level for Roraima and this cannot be described in words it is shocking.”
Wesley Kirton who spoke on behalf of the family told reporters that Martin would have been celebrating his 40th birthday on August 14. He leaves to mourn his wife Dr. Roberta Martin and eight-year-old daughter.
While Dr. Martin was unable to speak at the time, Kirton said, “She wants you to know that sometime later she will be prepared to speak. What she wants me to say to you is this comes as a great loss and tremendous shock to the family, she said her husband is a family man that is committed to his family, a hard worker. He was a happy person, dedicated and experienced pilot.”
“Like everyone else she is awaiting information on what has happened and what caused this accident to happen,” he stated.