James Knight, who was a passenger aboard the Roraima Airways trislander airplane that crash-landed last Saturday, says that it would have been quite the disaster if the pilot did not make the decision to land at the East Bank landfill site.
The plane left Imbaimadai in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) on Saturday morning and was expected to land at the Eugene F. Correia International Airport, Ogle, East Coast of Demerara (ECD).
But, due to mechanical difficulties, the plane crash-landed near the Haags Bosch Landfill site, along the East Bank of Demerara (EBD).
“The last minute decision to put the plane down in the swamp deh was a good one,” Knight told the Guyana News Agency on Friday morning.
That swamp was the landfill site.
Knight was one of the three passengers on board the plane; the other two passengers were a woman, a two-year-old child and the two pilots: Learie Barclay and Tarick Ramnarace.
According to the man, the passengers could not communicate with the pilots during the flight because the trislander plane is a noisy one. The only way of communicating was through hand signals.
And, Knight said that when the passengers realised something was going wrong with the plane- during the flight- they were only able to see signals from the pilot.
At that point, however, he related that the pilot (Barclay) and his co-captain (Ramnarace) were already trying to get the passengers to safety.
“He (the pilot) was desperately trying to make the aircraft stay airborne as long as possible…he had to make a sudden decision,” Knight said.
As the pilots tried to maneuver the skies and keep persons safe, Knight said that the passengers were, understandably, terrified.
“It was horrifying,” he said twice, for emphasis.
Fortunately, Knight said that the pilot made the best decision possible to land the plane at the dumpsite.
“If he had tried to reach Ogle, it would have been a terrible disaster,” the man related.
He later added, “He made a decision to save our lives and not only save our lives, but save the plane as well.”
The Guyana News Agency was able to confirm that none of the travellers received life-threatening injuries after the crash-landing. Knight himself said that he was shaken, but “hanging in there.”
Meanwhile, Director-General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Egbert Field told the Guyana News Agency on Friday that the investigation into the crash-landing was still ongoing.
He explained that the aim of this investigation was to ascertain what caused the incident and what recommendations can be made to improve safety in the future.