Guyana Civil Authority to Lead Probe of Caribbean Airlines Crash

Caribbean Airlines Ltd. said Guyana’s Civilian Aviation Authority will lead the investigation into the crash landing of a Boeing 737-800 this past weekend that injured dozens of passengers. No one was killed.

The plane, operating as Flight No. 523 from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Georgetown, Guyana, crashed at 1:32 a.m. local time on July 30, the airline said in a statement.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority will assist the Guyana aviation authority in the investigation, the airline said at a press conference this weekend in Georgetown.

Terry Williams, a spokesman for the NTSB, confirmed yesterday that the board was sending a team to assist with the accident probe.

Shanta Gohardhan, editor-in-chief for Guyana’s Government Information Agency, said in a telephone interview the aircraft “ran off” the airstrip at Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Georgetown. The plane broke in two, forward of the wings, as it overshot the runway and wound up in a gully, the agency said.

Fifty-two people were treated at two hospitals, the statement said. Passengers were forced to exit the plane through its rear doors by either jumping or climbing to the ground.

Flights to Caribbean

The airline said the flight had stopped in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and was completing its journey to Georgetown when the incident occurred.

Caribbean Airlines has flights from Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and Toronto, to the Caribbean islands of Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela in South America.

Venezuela borders Guyana to the west, Suriname to the east and Brazil to the south. The country was a former Dutch colony in the 17th century, and was controlled by the British by 1815, according to the CIA World Factbook. Guyana, which has a population of 744,768, gained its independence in 1966.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Hart in Washington at dahart@bloomberg.net; Carlos M. Rodriguez in Mexico City at carlosmr@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sylvia Wier at swier@bloomberg.net

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