Passengers cheat death as plane snaps in half in Guyana

Passengers escape injury as plane snaps in half in GuyanaAP

A plane carrying 163 passengers narrowly escaped disaster when it crash-landed in the South American country of Guyana - and snapped in half.

Amazingly, no one was killed and just a few people were injured after the Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737-800 from New York overshot the runway at Georgetown's Cheddi Jagan airport.

The aircraft slid along the wet runway, crashed through a chain-link fence and narrowly missed a 200-foot ravine - if it had fallen into the ravine, all the passengers and crew would almost certainly have died.

The crash happened just after midnight local time, as the flight arrived from the Caribbean island of Trinidad, where it had made a stop before continuing to Georgetown.

One passenger, Adis Cambridge, of Guyana, said she felt the thump of a hard landing but didn't think much of it until seconds later.

She said: "I realised that everything was on top me, people and bags. I was the second to last person to get off that plane in the dark. I hit my head on the roof, it was so scary."

At first, authorities struggled to reach passengers due to lack of lighting and emergency equipment.

"Everything started caving in and the girl next to me just sat there motionless in shock," said another passenger, Betsy Myndyllo, who escaped with the help of her nephews and left the crash on foot in the dark, arriving at the terminal 20 minutes later.

Other passengers said that their applause at the safe landing turned to screams when they realised the plane had broken in half.

Guyana's health minister, Leslie Ramsammy, told French news agency Agence France Presse that one passenger suffered a broken leg while several others walked away with minor bruises. Around 100 required medical attention and four were hospitalised with serious injuries.

Caribbean Airlines don't yet know the cause of the accident but chairman George Nicholas said: "It's an absolute miracle what happened here in Georgetown."

Guyanese President Bharrat Jagedo said: "We are very, very thankful and grateful that there are no deaths."

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Passengers cheat death as plane snaps in half in Guyana

Reviews on included this scathing comment: ‘Incredibly uncomfortable seats, poor food, rude staff who just wanted to get the meal service out of the way so they could stand at the rear of the plane and chat amongst themselves.’ Hopefully, the merger with British Airways will mean there's a hope for a rise in standards.

These less-than-glowing reviews on say it all: ‘…nothing could be as bad as EgyptAir. Dirty aircraft with disinterested crew. The toilets were filthy, food looked like leftovers from other airlines. The seating is exceptionally cramped and uncomfortable’ and ‘I find the staff on EgyptAir lazy and unprofessional.’ And apparently the seats aren’t cheap either!

Old planes and unexplained flight delays were among the common complaints about this Chinese airline. Customers alternately complained that flight attendants don’t speak English (although some praising the communication skills). Other comments included criticism of the poor quality of the food and service.

Oh dear, customers are not happy with their experience of this airline or its website. Shabby planes, flights being delayed, rescheduled or rerouted without notice or explanation. And the airline got the lowest score for its food. Altogether a big thumbs down from reviewers.

Chinese air travel isn’t coming off well according to Zagat findings. Customer comments on on this airline’s service included: ‘…poor food, warm drinks, inadequate English language skills of crew (including nonsensical inflight announcements), non-reclining seats… All in all, quite an unpleasant series of flights’ and ‘Be careful to check and re-check your booking, as flight times can (and did) change without notice. You can miss your flight very easily.’

Described by one reviewer as ‘the airline from hell’, you’d be forgiven for giving it a wide berth unless it ups its game considerably! Reviews included: ‘First, the airline could not fine my reservation… then they determined that "someone" had canceled it in spite of my confirming it on their website’; ‘The worst thing was the attitude of US airways staff and the lies they told us. I wouldn't touch them again with a barge pole’ and ‘Most of the staff are rude and unfriendly… All in all a terrible experience. Never again.’

It was the terminal at the airport that came in for most criticism here. Customers commented on the poor bus transfer to the gate and unfriendly staff. Another criticism was that the elderly and passengers with children weren’t properly catered for. And one reviewer said the pilot announced: 'Sorry, we do not fly today. The plane is broken'.

The general stampede for unallocated seats was a common criticism for easyJet. One customer complained: ‘It would cost the easyJet computer nothing to allocate seats and alleviate the impression one is fighting for a place on a bus that may be overfull’; another said: ‘My biggest concern was the feeling of chaos inboard. The safety demo audio was played at a very low volume, and people were speaking on their mobile phones during the safety demonstration, cabin crew seemingly not giving a damn.’ Other complaints include overbooked flights and disorganised service...

Lack of food on international flights, a poorly kept plane and bad service generally were all at the heart of the complaints by travellers. TOne passenger pulled no punches with the comment: ‘My trip from Lima, Peru to Boston was the biggest nightmare of my life next to getting all four of my wisdom teeth pulled while conscious’; another, commenting on the policy of charging for hand luggage, said: ‘Robbing people as they board your airplane should really help your already abysmal tardy departure record…’ and a third summed up with: ‘They charge for everything, their agents are rude, and the flights are overbooked, late, not that clean, and just an awful experience.’  Biggest gripe of all was the charges the airline makes for hand luggage.

It was not hard to find reviewers with a poor opinion of the budget airline. An overriding impression was one of being ripped off.  As one customer commented: ‘I've concluded that Ryanair is nothing but a great big social experiment to see how arrogant an airline can get and how low customer service can be pushed before the said airline starts to lose money….We keep coming back to this horrid airline with its miserable service in hope that we'll save a Euro or two. Reality is that we probably end up spending more money than we would have if we opted for a better airline’, while delivered a damning verdict: ‘They have to be the most customer unfriendly company I have come across. Dirty plane when we eventually got on, tired looking and dishevelled cabin crew. What more can I say - a shocking experience that I never wish to repeat.’

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