Written by Denis Scott Chabrol
American investigators are due in Guyana Monday to remove the blackbox and data voice recorder of the Caribbean Airlines plane which crash-landed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) early Saturday.
Airline Chairman, George Nicholas said the probe is being spearheaded by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority and will include personnel from the US National Transport Safety Board (NTSB).
Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is expected in Guyana Saturday evening for a first hand assessment of the situation. The airline is the national carrier of the twin-island republic.
Steel barricades, manned by armed police and soldiers, have been erected around the aircraft to secure it for the investigators.
Demerara Waves Online News (www.demwaves.com) observed items being removed from the aircraft and loaded into an army truck.
Nicholas called it a miracle that the US$38 million aircraft acquired in 2007 did not catch a fire or persons were not killed or more seriously injured.
"It's an absolute miracle that took place today," he told a news briefing at the CJIA. "It's amazing to have an aircraft in that shape with a small number of injuries."
Nicholas and other senior management officials, who flew in from Trinidad, declined to speak about the weather, how equipped was the airport control tower and other matters that could impact on the investigations in connection with Flight BW523.
The airline officials, however, assured that the pilot has been flying for 25 years and has been doing so to Guyana over that same period.
The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) Saturday afternoon released a list of 35 persons who were seen at the institution, three of whom have been admitted as patients.
They are a male, 46, of Shell Road, Kitty who sustained an injury to his right leg and was admitted to the High Dependency Unit;
a 69-year-old female of Whim, Corentyne who sustained an injury to her forehead and was admitted to the Female Surgical Ward and; a 20-year-old female of 110 Second Street,
Hopetown who suffered a cerebral concussion and trauma to the abdomen. She too was admitted to the Female Surgical Ward.
No names were released.
The Diamond Diagnostic Center also treated 17 patients with 11 being referred to the GPHC while were six sent home.
"We will continue to be alert throughout the coming days for passengers who may experience any pain or trauma," Health Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy said in a statement.
Caribbean Airlines spokeswoman, Laura Asborjornsen said a team of Caribbean experts would be arriving in Guyana to assist with "post trauma" counselling for the passengers and crew members.
Scores of persons who arrived on the flight expressed concern about the delay in getting their baggage.
"We want to know why so long we can't get we baggage," one passenger yelled at a Caribbean Airlines staffer who was trying to calm an increasingly tense situation.
However, airline officials said all personal belongings inside the cabin were being collected and placed in individual plastic bags corresponding with each seat.
The incident occurred around 1:25 AM when the jet ran off the runway and down a slope where it broke in two. There has been no official word on the weather conditions at the time of the incident.Flights in and out of the airport have resumed while feverish efforts are underway to retrieve the baggage belonging to the 151 passengers and six crew.