According to Michael Nedd, one of the 162 persons on board the BW flight 523 of Caribbean Airlines that crashed in Guyana earlier this morning, the airplane hit the runway very hard and passengers began screaming after their heads were repeatedly being banged against their head rests. He said that there was little or no time to prepare for the crash; the cockpit crew did not issue any announcements or warnings before the crash.
After the passengers got an emergency door opened they jumped outside in a state of pandemonium. Mr Nedd indicates that when they got outside of the plane that had broken in two, there were no persons from Guyana or the airport to assist them. Mr Nedd said he called his son, who worked at the same airport where the incident happened. He said his son clearly told him that no one at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport knew that the plane had overshot the runway and had broken in two.
Apparently, it took an unusually long time for assistance to arrive. Only one passenger, a man with a broken leg, will be kept in the hospital while the others with minor injuries are being released. The majority of the passengers were Guyanese born, American nationals. The flight had originated from New York.
One of the concern now is for the provision of counselling services for the survivors. Guyana, apparently, does not have the human resources, apart from social workers, to provide that service.
Meanwhile, Caribbean Airlines are refuting claims that the incident is being reported as a crash; they claim that it was an overshooting of the runway and not a crash. The Airline is issuing the clarification in hopes of alerting the public that its safety record has not been tainted by this incident. However, Mr Nedd says that the plane landed in the middle of the runway and so there was just not enough space for the plane to safely come to a stop.
There will be more posts as information comes to hand.