GUYANA: Fly Jamaica Plane crash at CJIA – By Cyril Bryan, Editor. Guyanese Online – passenger …UPDATED

Fly Jamaica Plane crash at CJIA Guyana on November 9, 2018
– By Cyril Bryan – (Passenger on the plane)
I am the publisher and editor of Guyanese Online, a blog that gives free advertising to Guyanese organizations worldwide.
I was in Guyana reporting on the work of CANGO – see  Regular Reports are on the CANGO FaceBook Page
 
Editor’s Note: I(Cyril Bryan), was on this plane on my way to Toronto from Guyana after spending three weeks with the CANGO Medical Mission to Indigenous Guyanese in the Pomeroon (Region 1) and Moruca (Region 2) areas of Guyana.

 ————- Here it is  my report ———–            

Fly Jamaica Plane crash at CJIA Guyana on November 9, 2018

          By Cyril Bryan .. Editor of Guyanese Online (Guyaneseonline.net)

This is my report on what occurred on the Georgetown Toronto Fly Jamaica flight I was on on my way to Toronto.

The flight was scheduled to leave at 1.30 am local time … 12.30 am EST on November 9, 2018.

The plane was delayed for half and hour as there were problems with the door … it was not closing properly and the technicians were called.

I was in seat 4C … right in front and could see what was going on. Eventually we took off at 2.11 am 1.11 EST.

Immediately after takeoff I felt that there was something wrong……The plane, a Boeing 757-200. did not climb rapidly to the 32,000 ft cruising altitude as announced by the pilot. It started to level off at about 10,000 ft… (my estimate)

It seemed to me that there were control problems … the plane seemed to be swaying, its speed was reduced ….. and the pilot announced that he was turning back as we would be going over water, and that he was returning to the airport and that we would land in about 20 minutes, which we did at 2.53 am Local time  (1.53 EST)

It was dark I could not see much outside the plane, but then lights appeared on the left side of the plane as we started descending to the airport.

I travel by air often,  and I felt uneasy about the sound of the engines, as the captain seemed to be using the engines to help steer the plane… a jerky effect and at one point he gunned the engines to keep the nose up….this was about five minutes before we landed.

My prayer was that we landed on the tarmac and not the river or forest and be killed or injured.

The pilots were very skilled… and I believe that they were bringing in an ailing plane that was difficult to control.. swaying from right to left etc. Congratulations to them.

When we touched down we may have been some way down the runway…. the plane’s brakes seemed to have partially failed due to their hydraulic issues… But the plane did slow down a bit… .then it hit the end of the runway and some impediments that were put there … where the runway expansion was being completed. There were explosions on the right side of the plane.. maybe tires being blown out… then it swerved right breaking through a wire fence …before stopping just a few feet from a ravine,  The front wheels were partly buried in the loose sand and that may have stopped the descent into a ravine. In the darkness I did not see the deep ravine that was close to where the plane stopped.

See the photos in this CBC report shown below:  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/fly-jamaica-crash-landing-guyana-1.4898633

That  BBC report stated that  ..

“We crashed into a big sand pile at an edge of a cliff. There’s a big drop about 30-40 feet [nine to 12 metres] on the other side. If we had 10 more feet [three metres], we would be down in the ditch,” he said, adding it’s a “miracle of miracles” that no one was more badly hurt during the crash and subsequent evacuation.   

There was a loud thud as the plane stopped. The slide chutes or exit ramps were quickly deployed and passengers left the plane quickly helped by the cabin crew personnel. There were a number of persons… at least 12 .. who used wheelchairs to get to the plane when we were boarding… and I was concerned about them. Eventually they were removed safely as there was no fire initially. Later a small fire was noted on the broken right wing and engine and the fire engines went into action.  By that time most of the passengers , if not all, were out the plane.  Luckily the plane was only about  60 -70% full (120 passengers plus 9 crew),  so that helped with the speedy exit of the passengers.

We had to get through the perimeter fence  ..  barbed wire etc… to get back on the runway.  When I got on the runway I saw the damage with the aid of the lights of the fire engines. The fuselage seemed to be intact but the right wing and engine as well as the undercarriage (wheels) were ripped from the plane.  As there was no fire the fire engines did not go into action up to the time I started walking to the terminal.

We were assembled at the Departures Terminal, some distance away… some persons were taken on airport vehicles. Guyana airport personnel, firemen and Fly Jamaica airline personnel were many to help the passengers. Everyone, including the passengers in wheelchairs, got to the terminal departures area and we were all glad to be alive and that there were no serious injuries. A passenger list was printed out and all passengers were accounted for.

The “injured” persons I saw entering the ambulance later (around 6.30 am) all walked to the vehicle, to go to the Diamond Hospital… no stretchers.

Since it was early in the morning and an emergency, some issues like transport arrangements etc were not in place…. however, some persons were told to take taxis or buses and submit their charges to the airline.

Only with the light of dawn were we aware of how close we were to that ravine and how close we came to be a statistic of airline tragedies. The plane is a total wreck with right wing almost severed and both engines severely damaged, the right engine completely severed.

The luggage compartments did not seem to be badly damaged.  However, no baggage was immediately taken off the plane so persons were told to call or await calls from the airline to collect their luggage.  My suitcases was collected on Saturday November 10, from the Fly Jamaica / Wings office at the Georgetown Eugene F. Correia Airport.

We thank the universe for saving us to live another day.  The pictures below will give you an  idea of the damage to the aircraft.

Cyril Bryan

cybryan@gmail.com

905.995.2852  (WhatsApp only right now)

Thanks to everyone who has written me personally and wished me the best.

image.png

Plane stops in sand at the edge of a ravine

image.png

Exit ramps … I exited here then had to get through barbed wire fence away from the plane.

The plane stopped at the edge of a ravine

View this News Video from Toronto City TV News where I was interviewed:

https://toronto.citynews.ca/video/2018/11/09/flight-bound-for-toronto-makes-emergency-landing-in-guyana/

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Comments

  • sundog05  On November 9, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Thank the Lord for the pilots Cy. Glad you can wake up to another morning. God bless.

    Roger King

  • Elizabeth Abdool  On November 10, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Cyril: Thank you so much for your detailed report on this incident. We thank God for keeping you and everyone else safe … and still alive.

    Elizabeth Abdool (Director, Guyana Christian Charities (Canada) Inc.

  • Ron Saywack  On November 10, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Dear Cyril:

    I am horrified to learn of this near-tragedy. It is one of aviation’s ‘good news’ stories under dire circumstances. I am glad that everyone made it out alive, and I am especially glad that you are back home, safe and sound. I cannot imagine the horror of those frightful moments, which must have felt like an eternity.

    Your humanitarian mission to Guyana’s interior is commendable and beyond and above the call of duty.

    And thank you for sharing this bone-chilling story. It was not your time.

    Best regards,

    Ron.

    • guyaneseonline  On November 10, 2018 at 11:11 pm

      Thank you Ron for your comments.

      I am only now realizing the enormity of this event,
      If the plane had gone over the cliff and into the ravine, it would have been a real disaster.
      I am truly thankful that we have all been spared.

      I look forward to doing more work in the Pomeroon and Moruca River areas of Guyana, with special focus on health and education.
      I hope that reader will help to support my projects when they are launched in 2019.

      All the best to you.
      Cyril

  • guyaneseonline  On November 12, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2018/11/11/fly-jamaica-captain-basil-ferguson-credited-for-landing-plane-safely-airline-cleared-to-remove-plane/

    Fly Jamaica Captain Basil Ferguson credited for landing plane safely …airline cleared to remove plane
    Nov 11, 2018

    Aviation officials have given Fly Jamaica the green light to remove the Boeing 757 which was forced to make an emergency landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) minutes after takeoff on Friday.
    And the pilot, Captain Basil Ferguson, is being credited with averting a major disaster after stopping the plane inches from a steep drop at the end of the runway. Kaieteur News understands that Ferguson has many years of flying experience and was previously employed with Air Jamaica.
    Several passengers who spoke with Kaieteur News following the incident said that Ferguson should be praised for his effort to save the lives of the 128 persons onboard the aircraft.
    According to health officials, about ten persons sustained minor injuries while deplaning from the crashed craft.
    The Fly Jamaica flight departed CJIA at 2:10 a.m. for Toronto, Canada. About 15 minutes into the flight, passengers recalled that the pilot reported that the aircraft was experiencing problems with its hydraulic system and needed to return to CJIA. According to flight maps, the airplane circled before attempting to land.
    Passengers recounted that upon touchdown, the aircraft sped past the airport’s terminal, past the end of the existing runway and onto the newly extended portion of the runway, which is not officially open.

    READ MORE https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2018/11/11/fly-jamaica-captain-basil-ferguson-credited-for-landing-plane-safely-airline-cleared-to-remove-plane/

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