Human error blamed for Caribbean Airlines 2011 crash



By Kurt Campbell

From L - R: Transport Minister, Robeson Benn; Lead Investigator, Paula McAdam and Chairman of the GCAA, Hugh Denbow at the press conference.
From L – R: Transport Minister, Robeson Benn; Lead Investigator, Paula McAdam and Chairman of the GCAA, Hugh Denbow at the press conference.

[]– The final report of investigations into the July 30, 2011 Caribbean Airlines accident at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport has found that human error was largely responsible for the incident that caused irreparable damage to the Boeing 737 – 800 aircraft and injured several passengers.

The report was handed over to the local media this morning by Transport Minister Robeson Benn in the presence of officials of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

According to lead investigator and Aviation Safety Regulations Director, Paula McAdam, communication and coordination in the cockpit had broken down during the landing phase [a critical phase of the flight] based on recordings recovered from the cockpit voice recorder. She said too that both the “veteran” pilot and co – pilot along with the crew were interviewed and no explanations were forthcoming.

The flight data recorder was also recovered and used during investigations. The report stated that “the probable cause of the accident was that the aircraft touched down approximately 4700 feet beyond the runway threshold, some 2700 feet from the end of the runway, as a result of the captain maintaining excess power during the flare and upon touching down, failure to utilize the aircraft’s full deceleration capability resulted in the aircraft overrunning the remaining runway and fracturing the fuselage.”caribbean-airlines-crash

McAdam reminded that while the “flight crew’s indecision as to the execution of a go around contributed to the accident,” both the pilot and co – pilot were tested for drugs, alcohol and other substances and found to be negative.

Among the other findings of the crash, which saw one passenger suffering a broken leg, were that the aircraft had no mechanical defects, the crew did not command maximum brake pressure when it was necessary.

The report pointed out too that the wet surface of the runway did not inhibit the braking capability of the aircraft.

It was noted that the purpose of the investigation was not to cast blame or apportion liability but has made several recommendations for the Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana Civil Aviation along with Caribbean Airlines.

Among those recommendations are for training for CAL’s flight crew in several respects, a review of CAL’s flight and cabin crew training and its record keeping by the TTCAA.

Meanwhile, the report recommends that the CJIA investigate and determine why there was no reaction from its security service and implement training to familiarize them with their responsibility, among others.

The report is available on the GCAA website and can/may be used by affected passengers seeking compensation from CAL. It was clarified that any action to be taken against the crew will have to be done by the TTCAA.

This accident investigation began immediately after the accident which occurred just after midnight (local time) and was carried out by several persons including representatives from the TTCAA, U.S National Transportation Safety Board and the Boeing Company.



  1. I recall when this accident happened, the Trinis, starting with their Prime Minister were quick to apportion blame to Guyana. The Trinidadian Prime Minister came to Guyana and said “this will affect tourism in the region”. These ‘evidence deficient’ statements were made because the accident happened in Guyana and the Trinis wasted no time to express their arrogance and ignorance. It is likely they would’ve reacted differently if the incident happened somewhere else.

    The Guyanese and other passengers who were hurt and maimed by this accident, due to “human error” must be fully compensated by Caribbean Airlines.

    Those who prejudge a situation without the facts and evidence must know that “Science replaces private prejudice with public, verifiable evidence.”


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