Tuesday, August 17, 2010

SVGAIR to discontinue air ambulance service?

Posted by on Aug 16th, 2010

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, CMC – The St. Vincent and the Grenadines airline, SVG AIR, says it is contemplating ending its air ambulance service following the recent crash of one its airlines and the disappearance of the pilot.

Captain Suresh Lakhram was flying a CESSNA 402 aircraft from the ET Joshua Airport to Canouan to airlift involved in a vehicular accident when the incident occurred on August 5 when the accident occurred. One of the victims of the accident has since died.
While rescue workers have recovered some debris from the wreckage, the pilot has not been found.

“Sometimes when we go into these night missions we are risking our lives and we have no insurance for the plane if it gets damaged,” SVG AIR managing director, Paul Gravel, told reporters, adding that the airline had performed hundreds of emergency missions in the past.

He said the ill-fated plane was specially designed to facilitate the transportation of people in need of urgent medical attention seeking medical emergencies and acknowledged that cancellation of the service would be felt locally, “since “Vincentians cannot afford to charter a jet”. .

He said the low maintenance cost of the AVG AIR aircraft made the service affordable and if the service is to continue then the company would have to look at the options of purchasing another CESSNA 402 aircraft or a jet.

Meanwhile, Japheth Gumbs, 29, has appeared in court charged with the murder of 37-year-old Gregory Thomas, who died while awaiting the ill-fated emergency SVG AIR flight.

Police said that Gumbs was driving a vehicle that ran into a motorcycle severely injuring Thomas and the pillion rider, Adolph ‘Bash’ Dells, a 34 year old construction worker, who sustained a fractured right leg.

Gumbs was not required to enter a plea when the matter came up for hearing earlier this week. He will return to court on September 15.