GEORGETOWN: Trans Guyana Airways (TGA) confirmed on Monday that the bodies of Canadian-born pilot, Blake Slater, and cargo handler, Dwayne Jacobs, had been found, less than 24 hours after the wreckage of his place had been spotted by search teams on Sunday.
In a statement, TGA said that it “deeply regrets to confirm the loss of our pilot, Captain Blake Slater and our cargo handler, Dwayne Jacobs, resulting from the crash of our Cessna Caravan Aircraft on Saturday last”.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in contact with Canadian authorities with respect to the pilot while the next of kin to the cargo loader has also been informed.
Rescue teams found the wreckage of the single engine 13-seater Cessna Caravan early Monday after it had disappeared mid-morning (local time) on Saturday.
The plane went missing during a flight from Olive Creek in the Mazaruni to Imbaimadai. It was transporting mining supplies. An investigation into the cause of the crash has started.
Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Special Forces Officers found the wreckage with the pilot in the seat of the ill-fated airline.
A statement from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said that the Special Forces team is continuing to clear a pad to extract the bodies for transportation. The Search and Rescue Coordinating Committee said the site was not accessible by helicopter and “the densely forested terrain has made access to the site a lengthy process”.
The Antigua-based regional airline, LIAT, has expressed condolences and support to the management of TGA over the crash.
LIAT acting Chief Executive Officer Julie Reifer-Jones said she had received “with deep regret the news of the death of two people following the crash of a Trans Guyana plane on Saturday January 18, 2014.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the captain and his lone passenger who both perished in the crash,” said Reifer-Jones.
Six years ago, a plane conducting geographical surveys in the Mazaruni area disappeared and was never found, despite 17 days of search and rescue operations.
Missing and presumed dead were U.S. pilot James Barker, First Officer Chris Paris, also from the U.S., and Canadian technician, Patrick Murphy.