[Guyana, ASL] Families trying to understand mystery

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[Guyana, ASL] Families trying to understand mystery

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Feb 04, 2015

http://www.guyanatimesgy.com/2015/02/04 ... d-mystery/

[Guyana, ASL] Families trying to understand mystery
February 4, 2015

The families of the pilot and cargo loader who disappeared with an Air Services Limited (ASL) plane a month ago are trying to pick up the pieces after the tragedy for which they may never find closure.

After 23 days of extensive aerial and ground searches for the Britten Norman Islander aircraft that went missing on December 28, 2014, both the Government and the airline the pilot, Nicky Persaud and cargo loader, David Bisnauth worked for have called off the search.

The grief of the families is understandable. They are uncertain whether the plane had crashed or whether it had been hijacked. Veteran Guyanese aviator, Captain Gerry Gouveia described the incident as “baffling”

He could not understand how the plane disappeared, given the extensive knowledge the pilot possessed about the terrain and his own skills. Today, the families with their limited resources still search in the dense forest surrounding Mahdia – their hope is still alive.

Gouveia disclosed to the Guyana Times that ASL had given up on the search the same time the Government of Guyana did, but applauded the company for its committed efforts in the search for the plane. He believes that the airline made the right call when it pulled out. Noting that ASL spared no effort and utilised an abundance of resources in its quest to find the plane and its occupants, Gouveia pointed out that ASL covered a vast tract of airspace and land in the search it extended for an “exceptionally long” period which demonstrated the airline’s unyielding dedication to finding the plane and the crew members.

Private search continues

Even though observers believe the chances of finding the two persons are slim to nonexistent, Gouveia revealed to this publication that he understands the family members of the missing men are conducting a private search for the bodies.

When contacted by the Guyana Times, family members of Captain Persaud said they were not in a state to speak to the media.

At the time the search was called off, the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority had disclosed that over 230 hours were flown by the helicopters and fixed wing aircraft over the Blackwater Creek basin; North Fork; Konawaruk River; Ebini; Eagle; Mowasi; Glendor mountains; and Kurungiku mountain range including “Toucan Face” “Twin Towers” and Toucan Valley in search for the missing aircraft. Locations where damaged trees and crows were observed were also surveyed.

In addition, ground searches complemented the aerial searches after day three and intensified thereafter with seven ground search parties totalling 47 persons from the Guyana Forestry Commission, St Cuthbert’s Mission, villagers from Mahdia and Chenapau, 20 Special Forces Officers, family members of Captain Persaud, and volunteers.

Approximately 20 insertions and extractions of ground search parties were done at nine landing areas to trek along the treacherous and densely forested terrain. Areas where images were captured by the Canadian Twin Otter with the capability to pick up large metallic objects were also combed.

Surinamese aviation experts, as well as those from the United States Mission Coordination Centre, also joined the search and rescue mission with high tech detectors, with members of the Guyana Defence Force’s Special Forces trekking the dense jungle 23 days in vain.

The search for the missing aircraft and its occupants engaged substantial resources, including, personnel, aircraft, and specialised equipment and all leads have been exhausted without success.
Aircraft have previously vanished without a trace in Guyana.

In fact, in 2008, a Beechcraft King Aircraft went missing during a survey mission over the Guyana jungle and to this date, it has not been found.

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