Georgetown, Guyana – (August 27, 2017) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, this evening, said that Government has mandated the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to ramp up checks and inspections of aircrafts and facilities even as he expressed condolences to the relatives and friends of Captain Imran Khan, a pilot, who perished earlier today after the Air Services Limited CESSNA 206 aircraft he was operating crashed in Potaro-Siparuni (Region Eight). He was the only person on board.

Minister Harmon opined that is the third plane crash in less than two months and the Government is deeply concerned. “We have asked the Director of Civil Aviation for there to be more frequent levels of inspection of these aircrafts, of the pilots and the facilities they use to ensure that there is a higher level of safety in these operations. We, as a small country, cannot continue to lose young men in the prime of their lives to accidents. We are calling on the Director to increase [the] level of investigation and oversight over all of the operators to ensure that the serviceability of these aircrafts are checked, that the time and hours of the pilots, which they fly must also be checked and this must not just be a one off check but a regular check and also time and again, what we call ramp checks [random checks],” the Minister of State said.

Minister Harmon said that safety is a major concern for the administration and it is for this reason that the Government has been expending large amounts money in the development of airstrips, particularly those located in the hinterland. “We have expended quite a sum of money on the conditions of our hinterland airstrips. In the 2016 and 2017 Budgets, huge sums of monies were allocated for the development of these airstrips out of these concerns not only for the pilots themselves but for the passengers that they carry. We want to see a safe aviation industry so that the people who have to use these aircrafts, that there must be a very safe corridor,” he noted.

According to information received, the aircraft was en route from Chi Chi to Mahdia where it was expected to arrive at 0847 hours. However, at 0908 hours an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) signal for the aircraft was identified as coming from an area west of Mahdia. Actions by the GCAA as well as the Guyana Defence Force were immediately taken to conduct a reconnaissance of the area, where the crash site was observed.

Minister Harmon said, “On behalf of the Government I wish to express our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Imran Khan. The entire administration wishes to express its bereavement to the family. We would also like to send our condolences to the crew of the Air Services Limited and to the pilots. I know it is a sad time for the company,” he said. Director-General of the GCAA, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret’d) Egbert Fields said that the body will be flown out from Mahdia tomorrow morning and an investigation has been launched to determine the circumstances surrounding the crash.

On July 25, Captain Collin Martin, the Chief Pilot at Roraima Airways perished after his aircraft crashed on landing at Eteringbang, Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region Seven). On August 8, Captain Dominique Waddell of Wings Aviation Limited was left nursing injuries after his single engine Cessna aircraft went down in the same area, while on a shuttling mission from Eteringbang to Ekereku.

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