Pilot error blamed in 2011 Guyana plane crash

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Investigators have blamed pilot error for a 2011 plane crash in Guyana in which a Caribbean Airlines jet broke in half after touching down in the South American country.

A report compiled by authorities in Guyana and Trinidad and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board found the Boeing 737-800 touched down too late at Cheddi Jagan International Airport. Guyana government spokeswoman Gail Teixeira said late Thursday that officials found the captain maintained excess power at the time and did not fully decelerate.

The plane was carrying 157 passengers and six crew members, but no one was killed as it crashed through a chain-link fence the night of July 30, 2011, and broke in half just short of a deep ravine. However, one passenger’s leg was amputated and at least five other people who were injured have filed a lawsuit against Caribbean Airlines. The plane had left New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and made a stop in Trinidad before landing in Guyana.

Civil Aviation Director Zulfikar Mohamed said legislators are expected to study several recommendations that officials made about ways to improve operations and safety at the airport.

In late 2011, Guyana signed a $138 million agreement with a Chinese state company to extend the runway by more than 3,200 feet (1,000 meters) to accommodate larger aircraft. The Chinese company also agreed to build a new terminal building with improved runways and other facilities. The main runway currently measures more than 7,000 feet (2,000 meters).

However, opposition legislators have denied financing for the project citing corruption and inflated costs. They say they will approve funds for the runway extension only until authorities share more details about the project’s cost.

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