Friday, May 30, 2008

TACA 390

(UPDATE 2) The more I think about it, see, and hear, five people dead...it could have been much higher given the circumstances: Had the plane gone just a little further, many homes would now be gone. Had the 2,000 gallons of fuel ignited, well, obviuosly things could have been different. The word still is that larger flights will be forced to use the US/Honduras military base in Comayagua for the new airport. The mass confusion, problems, and inconveniences are beyond my current imagination.

(UPDATE...those that know Brendy, from our Church that used to translate some for groups, and works for TACA as a flight attendant, she was on board the plane, transported to the hospital, and although beaten and shaken up she should be dispatched from the hospital "soon."

I am not sure where to start. Yes, TACA flight 390 from El Salvador (an Airbus plane somewhat similar to a Boeng 737 that Continental flies) did in fact over shoot the runway when trying to land this morning and, although CNN is reporting "stopped" on a road...it in fact is a fall over 20-30 feet down from the runway to that road. The plane did not just slide off a little...it fully went off the runway and to the road below....from the cliff that marks the end of the runway, it lay approximately another 20 meters.



CNN is also reporting fog and other weather conditions might have played a factor. I saw no fog here all morning, and although it has been raining, it has not been raining hard at all, and at the time might have been just light rain at most. Local media is reporting the pilots had reported they had mechanical problems (not confirmed as of this writing).

At this time, two deaths have been reported, but as you can imagine facts are few at this point. (including the husband of someone from Valerie's Bible study group, and the pilot or copilot, one of the two) Supposedly 18 injuries. I saw several cars under the plane, not sure if anyone was hurt there or not.

Yes...I said "I saw." The power went out, Oscar called me, and Soren and I went immediately to see what was going on. The scene was for the most part handled by the time we got there (walking...traffic was and will be a mess, but the traffic police did a good job to reroute people quickly) Unlike the US, all of (you can see we were not alone in the pictures) crossed the yellow tape, and I was probably 20-30 meters from the plane. If you got too close the police would handle it, but there was a line allowed, and people everywhere, just like for when there are car crashes, homicides, etc. here. The mood was remarkable...not much concern, lots of laughing, staring, picture taking (a few thousand while I was there) etc. but it was somewhat surreal, as you might be able to imagine.

Talk is now that they will move all the big plane traffic to Comayagua...I do not know if that is temporary for the accident, or permament. That could impact us quite a bit, since that airport is one and a half hours from us, and everyone else in Tegucigalpa. That airport is currently a military airport.
I should note for those in the US that will undoubtedly see this and be worried...I would have no qualms personally to board a Continental or American plane such as those that the groups come down on, today if given the opportunity to land here in Teguc again. This is the first accident like this since the US Air Force C130 did something simliar almost 11 years ago (which was attributed to crew error in assesing how to land at this particular airport....which does require special training for Continental and American pilots (I would assume but do not know for sure about TACA pilots.)

I took two videos as well (the ringing bell is a guy trying to sell ice cream...believe it or not)





video

This is showing where the plane is, and the height from the end of the runway from whence it fell.

video

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent article, thanks for the info!