Fly Jamaica Airways plane headed for Toronto crash lands in Guyana shortly after takeoff

Fly Jamaica Airways plane headed for Toronto crash lands in Guyana shortly after takeoff
Fly Jamaica flight to Toronto crash lands at airport in Guyana
A Toronto-bound Fly Jamaica airplane is seen after crash-landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Georgetown, Guyana on Nov. 9, 2018.

All Canadian passengers aboard a Toronto-bound flight with a mechanical problem escaped injury when their plane skidded off the runway at Guyanas main international airport, federal officials said Friday.

Global Affairs confirmed that 82 Canadians were on the Fly Jamaica aircraft when it made an emergency landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Georgetown, Guyana, damaging the aircrafts right wing and engine.

But while airline officials reported two of the 128 people on the plane were taken to hospital as a precaution, Global Affairs said all Canadians on board were believed to be unhurt. A spokesman said consular assistance would be available to those who needed it.

Invor Bedessee, a Toronto resident, took to social media shortly after the incident to post an account of his flight.

I am all safe, but shaking, he wrote in a Facebook post. We were in the air flying for 15 minutes and captain said there is a hydraulic problem, and turned the plane back … captain dumped fuel and then landed.

Airline spokesman Carl Bowen said the Boeing 757-200 aircraft returned to the airport less than 20 minutes after taking off around 2:10 a.m. local time, but overshot the runway upon landing.

Images posted on the airports Facebook page and various sites showed the plane appearing to have gone through a chain link fence, with one of its engines tilted upward and resting on the fencing. An emergency inflatable slide had been deployed from one of the front doors.

Bowen said two elderly passengers were taken to the hospital as a precaution and the plane was safely evacuated.

The airport said on its Facebook page that the injuries were considered to be non-life-threatening, but otherwise offered no further details on the crash.

Guyanas public infrastructure minister, David Patterson, planned to provide a detailed report on the incident Friday. The airport has also set up a hotline for family members looking for assistance and information.

In July 2011, a Boeing 737-800 aircraft belonging to Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines crashed at Cheddi Jagan after landing too far down the runway and running out of braking space, injuring several people. The runway then was 2,255 metres long, but is currently being extended to 3,048 metres.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to [email protected] Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to [email protected] Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Six people were injured after a Fly Jamaica plane on a flight from Guyana to Toronto crash landed overnight at Guyana's Cheddi Jagan International Airport. 

Flight OJ256 left from Cheddi Jagan International Airport, near the Guyanese capital of Georgetown, with 120 passengers — including two infants — and eight crew aboard shortly after 1 a.m. ET. 

Eighty-two of the passengers are Canadian citizens, according to local media reports that cited David Patterson, Guyana's minister of public infrastructure. 

About 11 minutes into the flight, the pilot indicated the Boeing 757 was experiencing problems with its hydraulic system, Guyana officials said at a Friday morning news conference. The aircraft returned to Cheddi Jagan, where it crash landed, leaving the runway. 

Images posted on the airport's Facebook page show the plane appearing to have gone through a chain link fence, with one of its engines tilted upward and resting on the fencing. An emergency inflatable slide had been deployed from one of the front doors.

Invor Bedessee was sitting near the cockpit during the flight. According to him, the plane's departure was delayed about 45 minutes as crews addressed a mechanical problem.

Takeoff was smooth, but other passengers became anxious after the pilot revealed they were returning to Georgetown. 

Bedessee said it seemed that once the aircraft landed, its brakes were not functioning properly. The plane eventually rolled to a stop after a spiked rumble strip laid across the runway by an airport ground crew punctured several tires on its right side. 

"We crashed into a big sand pile at an edge of a cliff. There's a big drop about 30-40 feet [nine to 12 metres] on the other side. If we had 10 more feet [three metres], we would be down in the ditch," he said, adding it's a "miracle of miracles" that no one was more badly hurt during the crash and subsequent evacuation. 

Rabina Roopnarine awoke to a call from her mother, Bebe Ali, who was among those on the plane. Ali, a resident of Toronto, flew to Georgetown two weeks ago for her brother's funeral. She was supposed to land at Pearson International Airport at 7 a.m. ET. Friday.

Ali used a flight attendant's cellphone to contact her daughter from the hospital shortly after the crash landing. Roopnarine said she was told the plane was filled with smoke and passengers were trying to force their way off.

Local police have cordoned off part of the airport and an investigation into the circumstances of the incident is underway, according to officials. A representative from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is expected to assist in the probe. 

Patterson is expected to provide an update on the incident at some point on Friday. The airport has also set up a hotline for family members looking for assistance and information.

In a Facebook post, Fly Jamaica said it is currently contacting customers to make arrangements for their return to Toronto.

It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges.