GUYANA: Plane crash lands in swamp at Eccles backlands on way to Ogle Airport


– Pilot thanks God for life as passengers escape with minor injuries

Some of the rescuers on the scene

Aug 15, 2021 – Kaieteur News – A pilot, Learie Barclay, yesterday thanked God for life after the aircraft he was piloting with a co-pilot and three passengers onboard, experienced some mechanical difficulties and crash landed in a swamp located at the Eccles Backlands, East Bank Demerara (EBD).

The plane Barclay was piloting, a Britten Norman Trislander owned by Roraima Airways, had reportedly experienced mechanical difficulties as it was approaching the Ogle Airport after returning from a trip to Imbaimadai, Region Seven.         

His exact words in a Facebook post were “God is everything and his will is the way. He protected us today… Thank you. Thank you. To God be the glory!!”
Barclay made the post after he, along his co-pilot, Tarick Ramnarace and the three passengers on board, a woman, an infant and a man escaped the crash with minor injuries following a 45-minute-long rescue mission.

As a result, the plane was forced to crash land around 11:30hrs in the swamp located in the Eccles backlands. Residents of Eccles had witnessed the moment that the aircraft dived into the backlands and recalled seeing smoke emanating from one of the engines just before it went down. They even recorded a live video on their cellphones.

Commencing a search and rescue mission immediately after was members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) who reportedly arrived at the crash site in the Force’s Bell Helicopter within six minutes. One of the members of the rescue team recalled that as helicopter hovered around the area, there were at least 20 public-spirited citizens on the ground assisting the victims to get out of the plane.

This newspaper was told that some of the citizens were employees of the landfill close by. One of the public-spirited individuals recalled that when they arrived on the scene, they met one of the pilots already out of the plane. On board, they said was a heavily built man, a baby and a woman who was reportedly pinned.

They were able to assist the man, the baby and the pilots out of the plane and through the swamp towards the waiting Bell Helicopter which eventually landed some 60-70 feet away.

To rescue the woman, however, the individual recounted that an excavator from the Haags-Bosch Dumpsite was used.
“The excavator had to walk through the swamp to help remove her,” one of the rescuers related.

The individual continued that it appeared that her leg was probably fractured so after freeing her, the rescuers placed her into the bucket of the excavator and she was transported out of the swamp.

With everyone accounted for, the helicopter flew off towards the city. According a release later sent out by the Ministry of Public Works, the helicopter took the injured crew and passengers to Camp Ayangana and they were rushed from there to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). Meanwhile as investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of the crash, Barclay has since been labelled as a hero for his split second decision in guiding the plane into the swamp.

It is believed that the move he made saved the lives of everyone onboard. Kaieteur News was told that had the plane not land in the swamp then injuries sustained by the crew and the passengers could have been severe or even fatal.

Some of the technical personnel who had responded to scene noted that the swamp was a fairly deep one and might have assisted in reducing the impact of the landing.

Overhead shots of the swamp area in the Eccles backlands where the plane crash landed (photo courtesy of Mike Charles)

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  • WIC  On 08/16/2021 at 1:38 am

    Seems as if the pilot made a good decision as to where to put down the aircraft, as he got a soft landing. Congratulations on a job well done!

  • brandli62  On 08/16/2021 at 4:03 am

    This type of an accident has always been my night mare flying to the interior in Guyana. Fortunately, the pilot did a good job and nobody was seriously harmed. Retrieving the plane might become a different type of challenge!

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