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Last updated: 26 June 2019
Status:
Date:Saturday 18 November 1978
Type:Silhouette image of generic DHC6 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300
Operator:Guyana Airways
Registration: 8R-GEJ
C/n / msn: 433
First flight: 1974-11-29 (4 years)
Crew:Fatalities: / Occupants:
Passengers:Fatalities: / Occupants:
Total:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 16
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:Port Kaituma Airport (   Guyana)
Phase: Standing (STD)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Port Kaituma Airport (PKM), Guyana
Destination airport:Georgetown-Timehri International Airport (GEO/SYCJ), Guyana
Narrative:
On November 17th 1978, Guyana Airways DHC-6 Twin Otter 8R-GEJ was chartered by a fact-finding delegation led by US congressman Leo Ryan, investigating allegations of abuse at the Jonestown cult. The aircraft was chartered for the flight from Georgetown to the Port Kaituma airstrip and back.
The fact-finding delegation stayed overnight, and during their stay were joined by defecting members (U.S. citizens) of the Jonestown commune, necessitating the leasing of a second aircraft. (A Guyana Airways Cessna 310G, registration unknown but probably 8R-GBR MSN 310G-0064)
During preparations for take-off for a return to Georgetown, the DHC-6 was attacked by armed commune members, who shot at the aircraft and its occupants. At the same time, a second attack took place aboard the Cessna 310 involving an armed 'false' defector.
The incident involving the Cessna resulted in 2 injured of 6 aboard before the perpetrator was subdued. The aircraft was not damaged in the incident.
The incident involving the Twin Otter resulted in 5 killed, 11 injured. The aircraft was damaged by multiple bullet impacts, but subsequently repaired and returned to service. It continued serving with Guyana Airways until its sale to Scenic Airlines in February of 1989.

The events at the Port Kaituma airstrip were part of the Jonestown massacre that took place on November 18th 1978.

Sources:
» Wikipedia: Jonestown
» aerialvisuals.ca


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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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