Friday, June 14, 2013

Woman ran into plane’s propeller while going to collect package - Eyewitness: Pilot shared meal with her hours before - Ekereku Airstrip, Cuyuni, Mazaruni, Guyana

Police  as well as personnel from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of 22-year-old Raquel Joseph who lost her life after being struck by a spinning propeller of a Cessna 172 aircraft. On Wednesday afternoon, Joseph had her face disfigured when she reportedly walked right into the spinning propeller of the aircraft minutes after it had landed at Ekereku Airstrip, Cuyuni, Mazaruni.

The dead woman’s address has been given as Old Road Timehri and the incident occurred around 17:40hrs on Wednesday.

Yesterday, the disfigured body of the woman was flown out of the remote area to the Ogle International Airport in the company of a policeman and the pilot who was in control of the aircraft at the time.

Speaking with this publication at the airport, yesterday, just after landing with the body of the woman, Captain Orlando Charles said that the now dead woman landed at the airstrip two hours before his flight had arrived. According to him, she traveled to the location from Olive Creek.

The captain who spoke with this publication while sitting in his vehicle at Ogle, yesterday, said that he first encountered the woman and her boyfriend one week ago. The man said that the two were at Olive Creek and had been looking to secure a flight from that area to Ekereku.

According to Captain Charles, the woman was able to secure a flight out of Olive Creek and traveled to Ekereku but her bag was left behind. He said that when his aircraft landed at Olive Creek he was asked to drop the woman’s five-pound bag to Ekereku, considering that her clothing and other personal effects were in the bag.

The pilot said that as he landed at Ekereku, the 22-year-old woman walked up to the plane from behind and enquired from the baggage handler if he had a bag for her, and he responded in the positive and gave it to her.

After receiving the bag, Charles related, the woman instead of removing from close to the aircraft via the route she had come decided to walk straight to the front of the aircraft which had its propeller still spinning.

The woman then came into contact with the propeller which killed her instantly. According to Charles there were some efforts on his part to prevent the situation from happening.

He explained that as the woman began walking to the front of the aircraft, he observed her and immediately switched off the engine. However, she came into contact with the propeller before it had fully stopped. He posited that had he not taken off the engine of the aircraft the woman may have been minced beyond recognition.

The captain who was still visibly shaken almost 24 hours after the incident told Guyana Chronicle that he has been flying for the past 13 years and never experienced or had cause to deal with the death of a passenger or anyone else while he was in the pilot seat.

The man said that the incident will forever haunt him as he did experience a few mechanical problems but a death is unprecedented.


On Wednesday, a few hours before the woman’s death, the captain said he had shared his lunch with her and her boyfriend while they were at Olive Creek.

He described the experience as heartbreaking while expressing his condolences to the woman’s relatives and friends.

Captain Charles is the director and founder of Flight of Hope. Flight of Hope is an organization which conducts outreaches in the hinterland areas. He said that the organization runs hinterland program to schools and to date they have been able to serve approximately forty schools over a four-year period.

Captain Charles told the Chronicle there was no extensive damage to the propeller but if, after an assessment, there is need for an overhaul of the engine and propeller it could be costly.

Yesterday morning, flight officials and investigators of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority traveled to the area where they began conducting investigations into the matter. 


Ekereku mishap…Teen ran into plane’s propeller while going to collect package – Eyewitness 
June 14, 2013 | By KNews,
  By Javone Vickerie
The death of 17-year-old Berbice resident, Raquel Joseph, under horrific circumstances, at Ekereku Airstrip, Cuyuni, Mazaruni, on Wednesday, has stunned the mining district.

The young woman died after coming into contact with the propeller of a Cessna 172.

A source from the area told this publication that Joseph had landed in the area about 15:30 hours (3:30 pm) Wednesday on an earlier aircraft to the one by which she met her demise. The source added after departing the plane the teen went into the police station and provided her name, address and her age (which she gave as 22). Her relatives later confirmed that she was 17.

The source said that after she came off the aircraft, Joseph was seen walking around the area a few times “as if she was looking for something”, but then requested officials at the immigration office to check for a bag which she had left on the previous plane. This publication understands that a request was made via radio for the package to be delivered on the next incoming flight.

It was then further related by the source that when that aircraft, a Cessna bearing the registration number 8R-JIL, landed for the final flight of the day at about 17:30 hours (5:30 pm) from Olive Creek, the teenager ran towards the aircraft (with propeller still spinning) to collect the bag which she had left on the other plane, but became entangled with the propeller.

The blade sliced away a portion of the young woman’s scalp, face, left shoulder, left breast and hand, before she was thrown approximately three metres away from the aircraft.

The body which was clad in pink jersey, blue short pants (denim) and with socks and sneakers was then covered with a sheet before it was taken away by authorities.

A small haversack was also on the ground with items of clothing strewn around the immediate area.

Kaieteur News was made to understand by a reliable source that the aircraft involved in the accident was owned by a newly functioning air service which was privately-run by a gold miner of the district.

Deputy Director of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Paula Mc Adam told this newspaper that a number of inspectors and investigators were deployed to the area yesterday to conduct a full scale investigation.

She confirmed that the body of the young woman was flown to Georgetown and is currently at Lyken’s Funeral Parlour. The pilot provided a statement to the police before he was made available to the GCAA for questioning.

A post mortem report is expected today.

Meanwhile, Kaieteur News visited a close relative of the dead teen, her aunt Roxanne, who said that she last spoke to her niece on June 1st after she was home for her 17th birthday.

The woman explained that on Wednesday she received a call from a man who related to her that Joseph was involved in an accident with an aircraft, where she “got caught up with the propeller”. The still grieving aunt said that her worst fears were confirmed when she received another call which gave a full and gruesome description of the scene and the state of her niece’s body.

The aunt made mention that Joseph went into the interior with “a big woman” to work, but this was not the first time she had taken the trip to the destination.
When asked what sort of work she did in the mining district, the aunt said “All we know is that she use to go there and work, we don’t have any idea of what work she use to do. Raquel was not somebody who use to tell people her business”.

The aunt explained that Joseph was the fourth of 10 siblings who resided with their grandmother in Georgetown, before she moved to Timehri to live with her. The woman said that after awhile the teen moved in with her father who resides in Berbice and would visit Timehri “now and then”.


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