BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – NEWS coming out of Guyana states that this morning (July 30) at about 1:32 a Caribbean Airlines jet ran off the runway on landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri and split in two.
According to Kaieteur News, the aircraft ran off the runway, crashed through the perimeter fence before falling to the roadway beyond the fence and broke in the area that accommodates the first class cabin.
“There were no fatalities but at least two passengers sustained broken legs while several others suffered lacerations and other injuries,” Kaieteur News said.
The media house also said that most of the injured persons were treated at the Diamond Diagnostic Hospital on the East Bank of Demerara before being taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.
Kaieteur News further said that initial reports suggested that the pilot landed far down the runway and could not have stopped in time to avoid the accident. However, according to Guyana Chronicle, the pilot’s vision was obscured by the heavy rainfall and misty conditions.
Denis Chabrol of Demerara Waves Online News also wrote that there were no fatalities but was told by Health Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy that the most serious injuries were a broken leg and a mouth bleed while 10 others were being kept for observation and could be sent home later today.
Chabrol noted reports indicated that there were 157 passengers and six crew members aboard Flight BW 523 which connected from New York to Port of Spain, and that the flight was expected since 9.45 p.m. on the previous day.
He also said firefighters, soldiers, police and officials from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority were present at the scene, and that private hospitals were placed on alert in keeping with a disaster response plan but were subsequently demobilised.
Chabrol had interviewed one of the passengers, Geeta Ramsingh, who was seated in the first row of economy class in Seat 8E.
“He touched down with a force. The touch was unusual and the plane took off with a speed. Some people clapped and some people started hollering when they smell the gas," said the Guyana-born US citizen who resides in Pennsylvania.
Ramsingh, who recently underwent a major intestinal surgery, said when she jumped off the wing and landed, someone else jumped on her and she sustained a bruised knee. She also said her abdomen was feeling shaken.
Kaieteur News also held interviews with a number of passengers and noted that one woman said she heard a loud sound when the plane landed.
She said that everyone, including herself began screaming. “It was terror,” she said. “I was praying to Jesus.”
The woman said that she was sitting near the emergency exit with her husband, who opened the emergency door and passengers began exiting the plane.
The media house noted that the woman complained of pains to the stomach, which were inflicted by her seatbelt when she was flung forward.
Kaieteur News also stated that it spoke to an overseas-based Guyanese whose wife suffered neck and back injuries. The couple had travelled to Guyana on a two-week vacation.
SKNVibes learnt that most of the passengers had fled the wrecked plane without their luggage.
This publication also learnt that President Bharrat Jagdeo had visited the scene and, among other things, said, “We are very, very thankful and grateful that there are no deaths. They have to make a decision on reopening the airport.”