Posts Tagged 'air crash'

Afriqiyah Airways Crash In Tripoli, Lybia

An Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330 has crashed at the Tripoli International Airport while trying to land. There were 104 people on board, the lives of all but one are believed to have been lost.

The Afriqiyah Airways flight 771 arriving from Johannesburg, South Africa, after a 9 hour flight, carrying 93 passengers and 11 crew members was about to land at Tripoli at 10 minutes past 6am this morning. The plane was scheduled to continue its journey to London-Gatwick as flight 8U 912, thus a few British citizens were also aboard with other nationalities including South Africans and Europeans bound for other connecting flights. As confirmed by the Dutch authorities, there were 62 Dutch citizens on this flight! All the crew were from Lybia. Nicky Knapp, a representative of the Airports Company South Africa, provided the breakdown in the destinations of the passengers aboard: seven to London, 32 to Brussels, 42 to Dusseldorf, one to Paris, and 11 to Libya. She was speaking on behalf of Afriqiyah Airways.

First reports suggest the plane has exploded in the air before touching down (“It exploded on landing and totally disintegrated,” a Libyan security official told AFP), but these are not yet confirmed. Some burnt airplane parts are also lying on the ground, together with intact airline seats, which would indicate that we may have some survivors. Ambulances are continuously arriving at the scene. Early reports indicate there is one survivor, an 8 year old Dutch child! He is currently undergoing surgery at a local hospital with some bone injuries.

By the afternoon, 96 bodies have also been recovered from the wreckage… Some of the TV footage show a destroyed car wreckage being moved by rescue workers as well – it is unknown at this stage if there were any casualties on the ground as well.

Officials also recovered the plane’s flight data recorder, which investigators use to piece together a flight’s last minutes.

The plane was one of three Airbus A330-200’s operated by Afriqiyah Airways. Carrying the registration number 5A-ONG (pictured here above), it was handed over to Afriqiyah just 8 months ago, thus was a new a plane. The planes in the fleet carry the logo 9.9.99 – the date when the African Union was formed, and this plane was handed over to the airline exactly ten years later, on 9.9.09. Ended her short life after accumulating about 1,600 flight hours in some 420 flights in a very tragic way.

by balint01

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Air France Flight AF447 Missing

It has been confirmed by Air France that their flight AF 447, linking Rio de Janeiro with Paris (Charles de Gaulle) had disappeared earlier today from the Brazilian radars and has never contacted Senegalese air traffic control.

The Airbus A330 should have landed in Paris at 11:10 local time but it has dissappeared earlier this morning. The plane – with 216 passengers (126 men, 82 women, 7 children and a baby) and 12 crew members onboard – took off from Rio de Janeiro Sunday evening at 7pm local time, heading towards Europe on a route that would lead northwards above Brazil, then crossing the Atlantic towards Senegal and flying through Spanish air-space before arriving to the French capital. However, contact with the aircraft was lost about 3 and a half hours into the flight (~1:33 GMT), when the plane was cruising at 35.000 feet at a speed of 840 km/h, approximately 300 kms from the Brazilian shore (565 kms north-east of the Brazilian city of Natal), above the Atlantic Ocean – already outside of Brazilian radar-space. It had last contacted air traffic control in Recife, Brazil. Brazilian Air Force started the search early Monday morning around the Northeastern Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha (365 kms from the South-American coast). They were later joined by a French military plane flying out of Senegal to help with the search. Brazilian officials cautioned that the search area could be three times the size of Europe. See map on CNN.com and the map on BBC.co.uk.

AirFrance_AirbusA330_F-GZCP-byPhilippeJeandy

There were several possible scenarios why contact was lost, it could have been a transponder problem, a hijack or a crash. Transport analyst Kieran Daly told CNN that the lack of communication with the aircraft “does suggest it was something serious and catastrophic.” He said the aircraft involved was one delivered to Air France in April 2005. Given the fact that that Airbus A330 is one of the safest airplane types currently flying around the Globe – not having a regular fatal accident since its first commercial flight in 1998 -, theoretically it could have done a water landing – similar to the US Airways flight that ditched in the Hudson river earlier this year – but the fact that all radio contact had been lost does not sound too positive at this stage. Also in the middle of a storm at the open ocean it is a much harder task than the Hudson river in quite weather.

The plane was hit by heavy turbulance in stormy weather and reported electrical problems before it lost contact, Air France said Monday. The automatic system of the Airbus A330-200 began a four-minute exchange of messages to the company’s maintenance computers, indicating that “several pieces of aircraft equipment were at fault or had broken down,” at 02:14 GMT (four hours after leaving Rio de Janeiro) as it hit strong turbulence early in its 11-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, Air France CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon told a news conference. “This succession of messages signals a totally unforeseeable, great difficulty,” he said. “Something quite new within the plane.” During that time, there was no contact with the crew, Gourgeon said, adding that “It was probable that it was a little bit after those messages that the impact of the plane took place in the Atlantic,” he added. He also said that flight AF 447 was probably closer to Brazil than to Africa when it crashed. Speculations are now pointing towards a possible lightning strike as the cause of the electrical malfunction – but that alone should not have brought down a modern airliner such as the Airbus A330. The jet had also sent a warning that it had lost pressure, the Brazilian air force said. The missing jet, registered as F-GZCP last had a maintenance check on April 16 and has been flying in service since April 18, 2005 – with 18870 recorded flight hours and was powered by General Electric CF6-80E engines. According to Reuters, two Lufthansa planes have flown over the same area shortly before and shortly after the Air France flight – without any incidents. Both German pilots reported the bad, stormy weather.

The chances of finding any survivors were “very low,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy admitted Monday. Air France identified the nationalities of the victims (based on the information received from the Brazilian Authorities) as two Americans, an Argentinean, an Austrian, a Belgian, 58 Brazilians, five British, a Canadian, nine Chinese, a Croatian, a Dane, a Dutch, an Estonian, a Filipino, 61 French, a Gambian, 26 Germans, four Hungarians, three Irish, one Icelandic, nine Italians, five Lebanese, two Moroccans, three Norwegians, two Polish, one Romanian, one Russian, three Slovakian, one South African, two Spanish, one Swedish, six Swiss and one Turk. This means 32 countries are involved in the tragedy. The four Hungarians are said to be 2 adults and 2 children. A woman returning from a 3 week training in Brazil – that she held on behalf of the International Pető Institute – with her spouse and her child – traveling together with another child who had visited relatives in Brazil. According to Brazilian sources, Luis Roberto Anastáci, President of Michelin South America was also among the passengers. Two ticket holders were not allowed to get on board due to the expiration of their passports.

Update (02/June, 20.00 CET): some debris of a plane were found by rescue teams. According to new sources a seat, a life vast, an oil drum and signs of oil and kerosene were found, but there were not enough material to make sure these were parts of the lost plane. Three commercial ships were directed to the area later in the afternoon.

Update (07/June, 10.00 CET): According to CNN, two bodies and some parts of the aircraft were found yesterday. Also a backpack and a leather briefcase were found, the latter holding a flight ticket, which was identified by Air France and it was proven to belong to one of the passengers. Airbus said the automated error messages may show that the speed controls were faulty.  Read more here.

by balint01

US Airways Airbus Crashes in the Hudson River

US Airways flight 1549 on 15JAN2009 has crash landed in the icy Hudson River in New York City shortly after take-off from New York La Guardia airport. The Airbus A320 was heading to Charlotte, North Carolina with 155 people on board, including the 2 pilots and 3 flight attendants, of whom ALL escaped successfully after the water landing.

US Airways Airbus in the Hudson River in New York City - from webpark.ru

First reports claim, that the plane (registration: N106US, first flight in 1999) took off at 15:26 local time, and soon afterwards passengers heard some sort of an explosion and the plane started shaking. The FAA has disclosed that less than one minute after take-off, the pilot reported “a double bird strike” after colliding with a flock of birds. Soon after the explosion the plane started to turn around and asked for clearance for an emergency landing at La Guardia, just east of Manhattan in Queens which it was granted. Later the pilot chose to try to land at Teterboro which was closer, but couldn’t make it there, either – which resulted in the first controlled emergency landing on water of a US commercial aircraft in more than 50 years at 15:30 local time (less than 6 minutes after takeoff). He informed the passengers “to get ready for the impact” and landed in the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan, just across New Jersey. Passengers claim it simply felt like a car-accident. Witnesses reported that the plane landed very softly on the river, slowly touching down on the surface at around 48th street, without making a bounce (more about the dangers of such bounces in our earlier article: How to survive an Air Crash?)

Air temperature at the time was -6 Celsius, with the water being +6 C. Television images taken shortly after the accident showed that the aircraft appeared intact and just partially submerged, with local ferry boats quickly rushing to the scene and taking all passengers and crew onboard from the deployed slides/rafts, saving them from being chilled as the aircraft subsequently began to sink. Many were photographed standing on the wings. Passengers have reported that there was indeed some panic onboard after the landing, but the crew was professional in getting them all out of the aircraft through the doors, with women and children first. The 57 year old ex Air Force pilot, Captain Chesley Sullenberger was the last to leave the plane sweaping the center aisle twice to make sure nobody was left behind! He has been flying with US Airways since 1980 and just one day after the accident it regarded as a Hero (similar to the pilot of British Airways flight 038 last year).

US Airways Airbus in the Hudson River in New York City - c by NBC

There were widespread but unconfirmed reports of various injuries, including cuts, broken bones and hypothermia, but nothing life threatening. Victims were treated at local hospitals.

Our preliminary report is that everyone is off the plane and accounted for,” US Airways Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said, adding that it was “premature to speculate about the cause.” Such planes as the Airbus A320 can easily survive the strike of one bird in one of the engines, but hitting 4-5 birds at the same time can cause such an accident as this one.

Landing such an Airbus A320 airliner on water with such precision has never happened before and is claimed as a miracle by many. This type of aircraft typically lands at a speed of around 250 km/hour and hitting the water surface with such speed may make a lot of damage to the fuselage and could practically tear off the engines and the wings or even break the cabin apart – which would result in quick sinking. But luckily this hasn’t happened and the plane landed safely.

This was the second take-off accident in the US within a month that all passengers survived, as on December 20, 2008, a Continental Airlines Boeing slid off the runway in Denver. About a month and a half  ago on November 28, 2008, an Airbus A320 crashed in water on a test-flight, killing 7 people onboard.

by balint01

Plane Slides Off Runway in Denver

Continental Airlines flight 1404 scheduled to fly from Denver, Colorado to Houston, Texas on 20 December, 2008 slid off the runway at Denver International Airport at around 6:18 pm.

Click for full picture on Airliners.net

The Continental Airlines Boeing 737-500 as seen at the crash site, one day later - C by Ben Remy on Airliners.net

The Boeing 737-500 (registration number N18611) that first flew in 1994 had 115 people on board of flight CO 1404 (110 passengers and 5 crew), who ALL disembarked the plane through emergency slides that have been deployed on both sides of the aircraft. 38 of them were taken to hospital, with 4 having “moderate to serious” and one person reported as having “serious” injuries. Most injuries are broken bones and fractures. Most of the passengers escaped through the emergency slides and were climbing up the small hill immediately after the accident as the fire fighters arriving to the scene have seen passengers walking or running away from the plane, coming out of the smoke that covered the wreckage.

It is not yet confirmed whether the plane had actually taken off by the time it caught fire, but according to reports runway has was littered by wreckage – which indicates that the plane may have lifted off and then practically fell back on the runway before sliding off into a small ravine on the side 200 yards away. (If this is true, the accident itself seems to be similar to that of Spanair in Madrid earlier this year, where most of the passengers died…) One passenger story tells us: “the plane started to take off, came back down and skidded off“, but this will have to be investigated. After skidding off, the plane came to rest on its right hand side, and the cabin was filled with smoke. After the evacuation the fire had entered the cabin as well, as firefighters were reporting that the overhead luggage bins have melted onto the seats.

by balint01

Airbus A320 Crashes in the Mediterranean Sea

An Airbus A320 has crashed in the Mediterranean Sea on 27NOV2008, just 2.5 km offshore Canet-en-Roussillon in Perpignan, southern France. Reports say this was a test flight, with three people found dead and four missing (but feared dead), which would mean none of the 7 people onboard would have survived the crash

The aircraft plunged into waters just off the French coast after taking off in late afternoon with a crew of seven from Perpignan, France, where the plane was being overhauled. The accident occured at around 5pm local time, as the plane was preparing to land after the two-hour test flight. The plane belonged to Air New Zealand and had been leased to the German carrier XL Airways for the last two years. It was to have been returned in the coming days to Air New Zealand, thus it has been repainted to Air New Zealand colours when the accident happened.

The Airbus A320 in XL Airways colors and registration
The Airbus A320 in XL Airways colors and registration (c by Roger Andreasson at airliners.net)

Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe told a news conference in Auckland that two of the crew were German pilots from XL Airways. (Some reports say they were actually piloting the plane on this flight, but this is not yet confirmed.) The others were a pilot and three engineers employed by Air New Zealand and an inspector from New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority, he said.

Three bodies were recovered from the water, and though French Navy boats, planes and a helicopter were continuing rescue search efforts, a spokesman for the French Coast Guard said that it was very unlikely that anyone had survived the crash.

Fyfe told reporters on Friday 28NOV2008, that he still hoped survivors would be found. “I certainly haven’t given up hope,” he said.

The cause of the accident is not yet known, but according to some reports, the spokesman for XL said “the plane tried to make an emergency landing on the sea.” The remains of the plane is currently resting in about 30 meters of water.

by balint01

88 killed in Aeroflot Boeing 737 crash – with pictures

Aeroflot Nord’s flight 821 was on its way from Moscow to the city of Perm, when it blew up in the air during its descent to Perm. Local residents told the media they heard a huge blast, then the plane rocketed towards the ground like a comet. Fragments of the plane were scattered over an area of four square kilometers and it even destroyed a part of the Trans-Siberian railway.

According to the official statement of the airline radio contact with flight SU821 was lost at 1,100 metres as the plane was descending for its landing at Perm; at the same time the plane’s signal was lost on air traffic controllers’ displays. Wreckage of the plane has been found within the boundaries of the city of Perm. The plane was totally destroyed and had caught fire.

82 people and 6 crew members were onboard. According to the news nobody survived the crash. Among the passengers there were seven children and 21 foreigners including Ukrainian, Swiss, Italian, Latvian, French, German and Turkish citizens.

General Gennady Troshev, a former commander of Russia’s war in Chechnya, was named among the victims. He was accused of permitting soldiers to commit vicious abuses of human rights during the campaign and was sacked by then President Vladimir Putin in 2002.

The list of passengers is available now on the website of Aeroflot.

Aeroflot is Russia’s flag carrier, Aerflot Nord is a subsidiary that operates flights domestic Russia. Aeroflot had a bad accident statistics in the mid 90s, but after they modernized their fleet, they had no serious accidents. According to Aviation Safety Network this was the first accident of Aeroflot Nord.

Spokesman of the airline said the 15-year-old plane was in a good condition and it had a full safety check this year. The plane was registered as VP-BKO with Aeroflot Nord since 14MAR2008 and first flew on in 08SEP1992 in Braathens colors for about two weeks before moving to China and beginning operations with Xiamen Airlines on 24SEP 1992, where it remained for 15.5 years.

We will follow up with the news and updates of this accident.

Update September 15: according to the first results of investigation, engine problems may have caused the accident of Flight 821.

Alexander Bastrykin, head of a federal committee investigating the accident, said the crash “was apparently connected to technical failure and a fire in the right engine” but did not provide evidence to support the claim.

Aeroflot officials said the plane was circling at about 3,600 feet in “difficult weather conditions” — including low cloud cover and rain — when it suddenly crashed.

Flight controller Irek Bikbov who was in contact with the doomed aircraft prior to the crash told Russia’s Channel One television that the plane’s pilot was behaving in a strange way, disobeying orders to go lower on the final approach and instead taking the jet to a higher altitude. He said the aircraft also turned left when he instructed it to turn right.

When he asked the pilot whether things were normal on board, the pilot answered positively but his voice was strained as if under stress, Bikbov said.

He was behaving in a strange manner and wasn’t following my orders,” Bikbov said.

The plane’s flight recorders have been found, and officials said it will take three to four weeks to analyze them as they sustained “serious damage” and are in “poor condition,” adding that “additional work using special equipment” would be required before any information could be extracted.

Read more on Aviation.com

By Szafi

How To Use The Oxygen Mask?

On Monday on one of Ryanair’s flights from Bristol to Barcelona-Girona a sudden depressurization happened and oxygen masks were automatically dropped. Later passengers told the media that the oxygen masks had not worked. The airline refuses these claims and according to their first brief investigation process everything was fine with the masks. Finally the plane was diverted to Limoges in France and all passengers were disembarked safely.

This incident however drew our attention to the dilemma of how efficient those mandatory so called safety presentations are that remind us of a very untalented, stupid ballet of (hopefully) good-looking stewardesses. First let’s see what are the facts about oxygen masks and then let’s get back to our dilemma.

About the usage of oxygen masks

Misbelief: most people think that if oxygen masks drop, they should just breath the oxygen coming out from it and that the bag above the mask would be filled with air automatically.

Truth: once they drop, you have to grab the one nearest to you and pull it towards yourself with a sudden, strong pull. This pull turns on the flow of oxygen. But it is not like a vacuum-cleaner that oxygen is just flowing out of it. No. You have to put it on your face and breathe normally (if you can breath normally in such a situation). The vacuum of your breath will pull the oxygen out, while that small bag above the mask itself will get full once you blow the air out into that thing.

Efficiency of the safety presentation

Airline safety demonstration

Now that the usage of oxygen masks is clear, let’s get back to our dilemma. We have already written an article about how to survive an air crash. There are so many wrong ideas of an air crash. The safety demonstrations prepare us only for the usage of an oxygen mask (and apparently it is not efficient, either) and landing on water and using that emergency vest. Probably that is the least necessary thing for an air crash, because most planes that have to make an emergency landing on water, unfortunately break apart during landing. But even that instruction is not clear enough. I am almost sure that once it is needed, most of the people would pull that hanger and blow the vest up already inside the plane, although with a blown-up vest on the body, it is almost impossible to leave the plane through the emergency exits.

During safety demonstrations it is not mandatory to tell us about the emergency landing position, which might save your life, because if you manage not to break your legs, you can easier leave the plane in case of a fire and that might be very useful.

During safety demonstration they never tell us anything about smoke (for example that if you get down on your knees, there’s much less smoke down there and you have a bigger chance to get out of the plane) or emergency slides (that you should take off high-heel shoes and how to jump on it in order to defend your arms and legs) and so on.

Again I am asking IATA, ICAO and all other airline associations and forums: are you sure this is the right procedure? Shouldn’t you revise this regulation?

Update (30 august 2008): I talked to an engineer, who is working with Boeing 737-800s and he told me that checking oxygen masks is done regularly. Every plane type has a maintenance guide that gives exact instructions how frequently oxygen masks need to be checked. It is connected to flown hours, so this frequency differs in acse of each plane.

By Szafi


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