Wednesday, July 26, 2017

PADC/Pilatus Britten-Norman BN-2A-26 Islander, 8R-GRA, Roraima Airways: Fatal accident occurred July 25, 2017 near Eteringbang Airport, Guyana

Roraima Airways Chief Pilot Colin Martin

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is preparing to launch an intensive probe into a plane crash at Eteringbang Tuesday afternoon that claimed the life of a Roraima Airways pilot- an incident that has plunged the domestic carrier into mourning.

Dead is Chief Pilot, 39-year old Collin Martin who leaves to mourn his wife , Dr. Roberta Martin, and their eight year-old daughter.

GCAA Director General, Retired Colonel Egbert Field said investigators would be inspecting the crash site early Wednesday morning. The Accident Investigation Group, an entity separate from the GCAA, is also expected to independently probe the incident and produce a preliminary report.

Field said the investigation would include an autopsy, examination of the wreckage, interviews with the pilot of the other Roraima Airways plane and witnesses. “I don’t think we will be short of witnesses because anytime an aircraft is heard overhead, there is always a lot of people coming out to see – just to enjoy, to see the sight of an aircraft- so we shouldn’t have too many problems to find individuals who can be interviewed,” he told reporters. Already, the GCAA Director General has been able to ascertain from the other pilot that visibility was good.

Chief Executive Officer of the Roraima Group of Companies, Captain Gerry Gouveia said the incident was now in the hands of civil aviation investigators, but so far the plane, bearing registration number 8R-GRA, and another Roraima Airways plane left Ekereku and were about to land at Eteringbang  to overnight when the incident occurred. The planes and crew are covered by the relevant insurances, he said.

“The only report that we have so far is that the aircraft was closing off its operations for the day. It was empty, the pilot was flying alone and going into land when the aircraft crashed. We don’t have any indication at this time- the reason it happened,” Gouveia told reporters.

Sources said the plane went down at approximately 5:48 PM about 200 metres on the approach to the Eteringbang airstrip.

The CEO hailed Captain Martin as an “experienced and wonderful pilot” who was working with the domestic carrier for at least six years during which time he emerged as “out star evacuation pilot”,sacrificing his life to save many lives.  “He is a great loss to Roraima. The entire Roraima team is very, very shaken at the moment,” he said of the former Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Major who served in the Special Forces.

Unconfirmed reports are that the two planes were conducting an overpass when  the Britten-Norman Islander that Martin was flying almost flipped before nose-diving. “We have no information of an overpass but when you fly in the interior, it’s not unusual for pilots to fly over the runway to check. These are uncontrolled runways. I don’t know if he did but if he did, he was following correct procedure because you don’t have a control tower to tell you the runway is clear,” he said. The CEO said the other pilot who was flying immediately behind him did not receive any distress call, and so “whatever happened, happened suddenly.”

As the news of the passing of Martin spread, many of his colleagues and friends flocked the Roraima Airways operations office at the Eugene F. Correia ‘Ogle’ Airport to express their condolences to his wife, Dr. Roberta Martin, and family as well as Roraima Airways staff.

After medical personnel pronounced Martin dead at the Roraima Airways hangar, his body was removed from another Roraima Airways plane and placed into a waiting hearse.

Wesley Kirton- who related the sentiments of Captain Martin’s wife in the presence of her and her mother,  his mother and Captain Gouveia and Mrs. Gouveia- asked the media to “allow her to go through her period of mourning and come to grips with what has happened.” “This has come as a great shock and tremendous loss to the family.”

Dr. Martin is a lecturer at the University of Guyana and the doctor-in-charge at the Kitty Health Centre.

Captain Collin Martin

A  pilot employed by domestic airline, Roraima Airways, early Tuesday evening died when the plane crashed on approaching the airstrip at Eteringbang in western Guyana, officials confirmed.

He has been identified as Collin Martin. The wreckage was located and his body was extracted. It was due to arrive in Georgetown Tuesday night.

No other persons were aboard the Britten-Norman Islander bearing registration number, 8R-GRA.

The Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Retired Col. Egbert Field confirmed receiving a report at about 6:30 PM about the incident that occurred minutes before.

He said a pilot, who was airborne at the time, witnessed the incident. Preliminary indications are that the ill-fated plane was airborne at a location from where the pilot could have seen the Eteringbang airstrip.

Sources said before nose-diving to the ground, the plane almost flipped.

RORAIMA Airways pilot, Colin Martin, perished on Tuesday afternoon after the Britten -Norman island aircraft he was operating crashed on landing at Eteringbang, in Region Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni).

Reports are that Captain Martin who was alone at the time was approaching the runway at the border location when he lost control of the aircraft bearing registration 8R-GRA.

Police Divisional Commander, Rabindradath Budhram told the Guyana Chronicle that the man’s motionless body was retrieved from the aircraft and flown to the city Tuesday night. Aviation sources said that the pilot was shuttling between Eteringbang and other airstrips on Tuesday.

Captain Martin, who served the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) in the past, has been described by colleagues as one of the hardworking pilots at Roraima. He was credited with undertaking a number of medical evacuation flights from the hinterland. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

In August 2016, the same aircraft which was involved in Tuesday’s incident sustained substantial damage after it encountered mechanical problems during takeoff at Eteringbang. The pilot lost control of the aircraft at the time and later crashed in a valley during an aborted take-off attempt. He escaped unhurt.

Roraima Airways has been plunged into mourning after an afternoon plane crash claimed the life of the airline’s Chief Pilot, Captain Collin Martin.

The crash of the Roraima Airways Islander aircraft took place just before sunset this afternoon. News Source understands that Martin was the only person in the aircraft during a regular shuttle flight into the Eteringbang community.

Another Roraima Airways plane was flying on the same mission and it was the pilot of that plane that reportedly noticed the crashed aircraft.  The man’s body has been recovered from the wreckage and efforts are being made to transfer the body to the city.

In a Facebook post just moments after reports of the crash surfaced,  Roraima Airways Managing Director, Captain Gouveia remarked “My Dear God”.

He would later tell media operatives that Captain Martin was a dedicated and loved pilot who was committed to the job and went beyond the call of duty whenever an emergency arose.

Shocked Roraima Airways staffers have been left in tears as they try to figure out what went wrong.

Captain Martin was one of the most experienced pilots with the airline who completed dozens of flights daily to all parts of Guyana. He was one of the pilots who led medivac operations during the nights and was also a former Officer of the Guyana Defence Force.

The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority has launched an investigation.

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