October 31, 2020

Air Canada plane touched down short of runway, lost landing gear

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Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.13.47 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.14.34 AMBy Jethro Mullen and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

(CNN) An Air Canada jet touched down short of the runway at an airport in Halifax early Sunday, hitting an antenna, severing a power line and losing its landing gear before skidding to a stop.

The aircraft, an Airbus A320, touched down about 1,100 feet short of the runway, said Mike Cunningham, a regional manager of air investigations at the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. From there, it hit an antenna array that’s part of the airport’s landing system and severed a power line.

That caused “significant damage” to the plane and cut off power to Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Nova Scotia, he said.

The plane skidded for another 1,100 feet on its belly before coming to a stop.

Investigators haven’t determined yet what caused the accident, Cunningham said.

The plane’s so-called black boxes are on their way to engineers for analysis, he said, and dozens more investigators are set to arrive at the crash site Monday.

“Obviously it’s too early to draw any conclusions. … These things are always very complex. It takes quite a bit of time to get to the underlying factors.”

Twenty-five people, including the two pilots, were treated for minor injuries at a hospital, said Klaus Goersch, Air Canada executive vice president and COO.

By Sunday afternoon, all but one passenger was released.

Goersch called the incident “very unsettling” and said that the company is cooperating with authorities in an investigation.

Questioned by reporters, Goersch said that the weather was safe enough for a plane to land.

He declined to speculate on a cause for the crash, saying investigators will make that determination.

Video distributed by CNN partner CTV Network appeared to show the plane stationary, with part of the nose missing and a nick in one wing. The video also showed a downed power line and damage to a small airfield tower.

Air Canada Flight 624 left Toronto late Saturday for Halifax. Air Canada said the passenger list indicates the plane had 133 passengers and five crew members on board.

Heavy snow was reported at the time of the landing, but Peter Spurway, an airport spokesman, said it was unclear if it had played a role in the accident.

Scott Murray told CNN partner CBC News that he was waiting at the airport for his father, who was on the flight. He said his father had called to say that “the plane crashed and he’s all right.”

Air Canada said it would cooperate fully with authorities’ investigation into what happened.

The airport also lost its electricity supply for part of the night.

“Power is out at HFX airport,” tweeted CBC reporter Chris Ensing. “Pitch black with exit lights on. Blowing snow.”

Nova Scotia Power tweeted later that it had restored power to the airport.

For more on this story and video go to: http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/29/americas/air-canada-halifax-incident/

Related story:

Halifax plane crash investigators begin passenger interviews

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.17.45 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.18.00 AM Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.18.20 AMBy Aly Thomson The Canadian Press From The Star Canada

Transportation Safety Board investigators have retrieved the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder from the Air Canada plane that crashed Sunday at Halifax’s airport.

An Air Canada jet skidded off a runway while landing at Halifax airport in Nova Scotia, early Sunday, causing injuries to about two dozen people on board.

HALIFAX—Transportation Safety Board investigators spent most of Monday sifting through debris and documenting the site of an Air Canada flight that crashed Sunday at Halifax’s airport.

Mike Cunningham, the regional manager of air investigations, said a team of investigators were looking through debris from the point where the plane touched down at Halifax Stanfield International Airport to where it came to rest.

“The big thing is the teams out on the runway to continue to document the accident site, going right back to the initial impact position and identifying all the major components of wreckage we have between that position and where the aircraft wound up,” Cunningham said from the airport Monday.

Cunningham said they have had a preliminary discussion with the flight crew and have also started interviewing passengers.

The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have been sent to the board’s engineering branch in Ottawa and will undergo a preliminary analysis, he added.

“The flight data recorder is going to give us all the factual information about the parameters the aircraft was producing,” said Cunningham. “The cockpit voice recorder is merely the conversation that the crew was having.”
A Transportation Safety Board investigator inspects an engine Monday at the crash site of Air Canada AC624.

A Transportation Safety Board investigator inspects an engine Monday at the crash site of Air Canada AC624.

It’s not known yet when the wreckage will be removed from the runway, but Cunningham said it could be before the end of the week.

He said officials with the plane’s manufacturer, France-based Airbus, were scheduled to arrive Monday to help with the investigation and removal of the plane.

Cunningham said flight AC624 touched down about 335 metres short of the runway and hit an antenna array, where the A320 Airbus lost its landing gear, and then slid another 335 metres down the runway on its belly before coming to a stop.

The 133 passengers and five crew members all survived the crash, but some two dozen people were taken to hospital where most were treated and released from hospital.

Halifax airport spokesman Peter Spurway said planes were landing on a secondary runway at the airport on Monday.

The plane damaged some navigational aids on its way down that need repairing, but the airport can operate without them, he said.

Spurway said passengers were waiting on the runway at the airport for up to 50 minutes following the crash in a snowstorm.

“This does not happen often, and we should be grateful for that. At the same time, we do have 138 people who are walking away from an airplane crash. Yes, we can do a better job of anticipating this need, that is to remove people from a distant corner of the airfield,” said Spurway, adding that first responders were on the scene within 90 seconds.

“We regret that for sure and we will, in our review, look at how we can respond more quickly.”

PHOTOS: Andrew Vaughan / THE CANADIAN PRESS

For more on this story go to: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/03/30/air-canada-crash-pilots-make-final-call-on-whether-to-land-in-bad-weather-aviation-experts-say.html

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