Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sad Day for Aviation

Prayers go out today for the families of the 49 people killed in the Delta crash this morning. There was a lone survivor which, looking at footage of the crash scene, seems almost miraculous.

The plane, Comair Delta Flight 5191, a CRJ-200 regional jet, crashed at 6:07 A.M. almost immediately on takeoff from the Blue Grass Airport, Lexington, Kentucky.

The cause of the crash wasn't immediately apparent, though there's speculation that it perhaps took off from the wrong runway -- one that was approximately half the length of what the plane required.

The flight crew was identified as Captain Jeffrey Clay, First Officer James M. Polehinke, and flight attendant Kelly Heyer. The survivor is believed to be one of the crew.

The plane had 14,500 flight hours -- practically new. Comair is a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines based in the Cincinnati suburb of Erlanger, Kentucky. Both Comair and Atlanta-based Delta have been operating under Bankruptcy protection since September 2005. (Just as an aside, my husband took a Comair Delta flight from here three weeks ago to Cincinnati to catch a connecting flight to San Diego, and those Delta commuter flights are what we always take to Atlanta.)

Fayette County, Kentucky, Coroner Gary Ginn said all the passengers and crew appeared to still be on the plane and the deaths were caused either by the impact or the "hot fire" on board.

The flight recorders have been found, which should provide some insight into the cause of the crash.

There hasn't been a major U.S. crash since November 12, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 587 went down in a residential neighborhood in Queens, New York, killing 265 people, including five on the ground.

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