Aviation officials investigating the crash of Caribbean Airlines BW 523 that broke in two last Saturday morning after landing rather precariously at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana have released some preliminary findings.
Accordingly, it seems that the crash that saw some 4 persons hospitalized was due solely to the errors of the pilot(s) in command of the aircraft that was carrying some 162 persons, mostly Guyanese returning from the USA.
Readers will recall that after the crash I posted an article in which one of the passengers, Michael Nedd, said that in his opinion the problem was caused by the plane running out of runway. He believed that the pilots landed the plane in the middle of the airport. Interestingly, that is precisely what the officials have found out in their investigations so far. It is also interesting to note that although the pilot of the destroyed carrier had said that poor visibility and the hazardous condition of the airport was to blame, the investigators have decisively rejected those conditions as factors causing the mishap.
Was this the first time that the pilot in question was landing at Guyana at that time? Could it be that after flying from New York the cockpit crew was overworked and lacked sleep? Was the pilot otherwise distracted by undisclosed cockpit events? These are questions that the officials will most likely put to the crew of flight 523.
Both heads of government of Guyana and Trinidad, where the airline is headquartered, have issued statements to the effect that it was a “miracle no loss of lives” resulted from the incident.
While it is not completely unheard of, commercial air carriers crashing in the Caribbean is a relatively rare occurrence. However, people around the Caribbean are waking up this morning to the news that a plane carrying one hundred and sixty-two persons, inclusive of 8 crew members, came down amid torrential rains in Guyana at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport .
The crash happened about 1:30 am some three hours after its scheduled landing. The Caribbean Airlines craft broke in two after it shot past the runway because it couldn’t stop.
No lives were lost, although there were some resulting injuries such as the pilot’s broken leg.
Almost every year it is safe to say that the summer will not be complete without a commercial aircraft falling out of the sky somewhere in the world. I think that is so because the summer months are the unofficial “fly a plane” season. There have been reports from various aviation officials that often times pilots are overworked, and some even admitted falling asleep while thousands of miles above the earth.
In fact, the Air France plane that crashed in the Atlantic ocean in June 2009, just three hours into its eleven hour flight from Brazil to Paris, was at the time without its senior pilot in the cockpit. That is what the data recovered from the black boxes reveal. The captain had gone back in the cabin to sleep, apparently.
Readers of Ashford Daniel Writes will recall that I recently posted entries that dealt with Caribbean Airlines and how its Trinidad government is greatly subsidizing its fuel for it to have a comparative advantage in the evolving Caribbean market; but even with a government hand out the Trinidad public was still grasping the available flights being offered by Redjet. Redjet is soon to commence operations to Trinidad and Tobago.
With the crash now of a Caribbean Airlines aircraft, exactly what impact will that have on the future demands for seats on Redjet and on Caribbean Airlines?
Officials in Trinidad will hold a press conference later this morning on this breaking news.