(Guyana) Foot patrols continue search for missing aircraft

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(Guyana) Foot patrols continue search for missing aircraft

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Nov 13, 2008

Foot patrols continue search for missing aircraft
From the Guyana Chronicle, 13 November, 2008

FOOT patrols by a Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Special Forces team, backed by personnel from firms linked to the survey aircraft that disappeared over the mountainous Mazaruni region more than a week ago, continued yesterday.

Aiding the search are other light aircraft taking high resolution pictures of the area for detailed analysis but no clue has emerged, officials said.

The Special Forces team was inserted into the area by helicopter Sunday and was joined by the others for a more detailed ground sweep within set boundaries, Mr. Mohamed Zulficar Mohamed, Director of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority told the Guyana Chronicle.

The ground party is trying to follow lines on the ground, including creeks and valleys, parallel to the flight path of the aircraft while it was doing the survey, he explained.

He said the area over which the aircraft was to have been doing the survey includes the Eping River gorge near the Mazaruni River and two valleys between the Merume Mountains and the Tomasing Mountains.

Weak locator signals picked up late last week have been difficult to track down because of the vastness of the thick jungle, he said.

Two Beechcraft aircraft outfitted with specialised equipment including heat-sensing cameras, followed up earlier sweeps with more checks over the area with no sighting.

The United States-registered Beech King aircraft, registration number N87V, went missing while conducting geophysical surveys for uranium deposits.

A Rescue Coordination Centre has been established at the Control Tower at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri.

On board the missing aircraft were Captain James Wesley Barker, 28, a U.S. citizen, First Officer Chris Parris, 23, a U.S. citizen and Geophysics Technician and Patrick Murphy, 20, a Canadian citizen.

The aircraft was chartered from Dynamic Aviation Group Inc. by Terraquest Ltd to do the geophysical surveys on behalf of Prometheus Resources (Guyana) Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canadian uranium company U308 Corp.

Prometheus has contracted a helicopter from Suriname to help in the search.

U3O8 Corp. last September announced that the Guyana Government had granted Prometheus Resources Inc. a one-year extension on the company's reconnaissance permits for uranium exploration in Guyana.

The company said it contracted Terraquest Limited, a specialist in airborne geophysics based in Markham, Ontario, to conduct a geophysical survey in the interior of Guyana under the permission of the Guyana authorities.

Terraquest contracted a twin-engine, turboprop Beechcraft King Air from Dynamic Aviation Inc. of Bridgewater, Virginia to undertake the airborne survey, it said in a statement received here.

U3O8 Corp said it has two field teams in the survey area to provide ground support as required.

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