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Old 08-16-2005, 05:54 AM   #1
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plane crash in Venezuela

Airliner crashes in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- A passenger plane crashed in remote western Venezuela with 152 passengers aboard early Tuesday, an aviation official said. It was unclear whether anyone survived.

The West Caribbean Airways plane was headed from Panama to Martinique in the Caribbean when its pilot reported engine trouble to the Caracas airport, said Francisco Paz, president of the National Aviation Institute.

Airport authorities lost radio contact with the plane later in the area of Machiques, in the western state of Zulia, he said.

"Residents in the area said they heard an explosion," Paz said. "Air rescue teams are traveling to the area right now by air and by land."

He said the pilot reported trouble with both engines to the Caracas air control tower just after 3 a.m. ET, and authorities lost contact with the plane roughly 10 minutes later.

The plane had been chartered for tourists, and 152 passengers were listed on the flight plan, Paz said. It wasn't immediately clear how many crew members accompanied them.

The plane was believed to have gone down between two farms in the remote zone.

West Caribbean Airways, a Colombian airline, began service in 1998.

In March, a twin-engine plane operated by the same airline crashed during takeoff from the Colombian island of Old Providence, killing eight people and injuring the other six passengers.
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Old 08-16-2005, 05:56 AM   #2
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Bloody hell.
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Old 08-16-2005, 06:08 AM   #3
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i wonder, whats going on with airliners these days? first greece and now this one
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Old 08-16-2005, 06:13 AM   #4
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^ That was exactly my first thought..

Prayers to all the families affected.
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Old 08-16-2005, 06:16 AM   #5
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Don't these people check the planes before they take off?

This is awful.
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Old 08-16-2005, 08:01 AM   #6
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I'm seriously thinking about taking the train to NYC in the fall.

Another crash, so sad.
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Old 08-16-2005, 01:09 PM   #7
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apparently no one survived


Plane Crash in Venezuela Leaves 160 Dead

By IAN JAMES
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - A plane carrying vacationers home to the French Caribbean island of Martinique crashed Tuesday in western Venezuela after reporting engine problems, killing all 160 people on board, officials said.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 was headed from Panama to Martinique when its pilot requested permission to make an emergency landing just after 3 a.m., saying there was trouble with both engines, said Col. Francisco Paz, president of the National Civil Aviation Institute.

Airport authorities lost radio contact with the West Caribbean Airways plane roughly 10 minutes later in the remote area of Machiques, near the border with Colombia some 400 miles west of Caracas, he said.

``The plane went out of control and crashed,'' said Paz said. ``There are no survivors.''

Rescue teams pulled dozens of bodies from the wreckage, which officials said was strewn across a forested area among farms. They also found one of the plane's black boxes, which could give clues about the crash, said Air Force Maj. Javier Perez, the search and rescue chief. He said the cockpit voice recorder had yet to be found.

The French civil aviation authority said all the passengers were French citizens from Martinique.

About 150 distraught friends and relatives, many crying, gathered in Martinique outside the city hall of Ducos, a town of 20,000 people where about 30 of the victims reportedly lived.

``The airplane should have landed early this morning. I heard on the radio it had crashed,'' said Claire Renette, 40, whose sister had been on the plane. ``I don't understand. It's as though the sky fell on my head today.''

Town officials brought in doctors and psychologists. Officials in Martinique said the vacationers included civil servants and their families who had chartered the flight for a one-week trip to Panama.

French President Jacques Chirac expressed his ``strong emotion'' as he learned of the ``appalling catastrophe'' and offered condolences to families of victims.

He sent France's minister for overseas territories to Martinique, and opened a crisis center at the Foreign Ministry to maintain contacts with Venezuelan authorities and victims' families.

The airline, in a statement from Colombia, said 152 passengers, including an infant, and eight Colombian crew members were aboard the plane. Venezuelan officials confirmed there were 160 aboard, including eight crew members.

The airline said the pilot reported an emergency 20 miles from the Colombia-Venezuela border. Authorities said the plane requested permission to attempt an emergency landing at the nearby airport in Maracaibo, Venezuela, but never made it.

It went down in a wooded area between two farms in the western state of Zulia, said German Bracho, the state's director of civil protection.

``Residents in the area said they heard an explosion,'' Paz said.

French Transport Minister Dominique Perben said West Caribbean Airways had operated a charter since spring between Panama and the French Caribbean departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe.

French aviation authorities checked the plane twice since May but found nothing unusual, he said. For this flight, the plane had been chartered by a Martinique travel agency, he said.

Peter Goelz, former managing director of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, said investigators would most likely look for evidence of fuel contamination.

``It's not unusual to lose one engine. It is unusual to lose both,'' Goelz said. ``One of the first things you always look at is fuel contamination.''

Goelz said he understood that both engines had recently had work done on them to suppress noise. Within the last few weeks, he said, hush kits - noise-suppression devices - were supplied to the engines.

The United States sent four investigators to Venezuela to help.

West Caribbean Airways, a Colombian airline, began service in 1998. In March, a twin-engine plane it operated crashed during takeoff from the Colombian island of Old Providence, killing eight people and injuring the other six passengers.

In the Colombian island of Old Providence, officials at the island's small airport announced the suspension Tuesday of all West Caribbean flights, without giving a reason.

Two dozen stranded passengers huddled around a television in Old Providence's palm-studded airport, watching news reports of the crash.

``I don't even want to fly on West Caribbean, even if they offer a flight,'' said Olmo Cardoso, a Colombian-Italian student visiting relatives on Old Providence. ``Two crashes in such a short period is obviously too much. There's something wrong.''

Two other airplane crashes in Venezuela in the past year both involved military planes. In December, a military plane crashed in a mountainous area near Caracas, killing all 16 people on board. In August 2004, a military plane crashed into a mountain in central Venezuela, killing 25 people.

Venezuela's last major civilian crash was in 2001, when an airplane from the Venezuelan airline Rutaca crashed in southern Venezuela, killing all 24 people on board and injuring three people on the ground.

Tuesday's crash came only two days after a Cypriot airliner plunged into the mountains north of Athens, Greece, killing all 121 people aboard.

Associated Press writers Herve Brival in Ducos, Martinique; Jocelyn Gecker in Paris; Kim Housego in Old Providence, Colombia; and Juan Pablo Toro in Bogota, Colombia, contributed to this report.


08/16/05 14:03

© Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained In this news report may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

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Old 08-16-2005, 01:50 PM   #8
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another one...
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Old 08-16-2005, 03:04 PM   #9
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This is why I loathe air transport.

Give me the train any day. At least if it derails, the chances of survival are in my favour.
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Old 08-16-2005, 03:06 PM   #10
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very sad. However this and the tragic plane crash in Greece will not stop me from flying.
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Old 08-16-2005, 03:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Axver
This is why I loathe air transport.

Give me the train any day. At least if it derails, the chances of survival are in my favour.

Do you drive?
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Old 08-16-2005, 03:49 PM   #12
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Seriously, I continue to drive everyday despite all the horrible car accidents that occur each morning, afternoon and evening in my town.
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Old 08-16-2005, 04:03 PM   #13
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^ as well as fly continue to fly.

This was a charter airline. I know here in the US, charter airlines have different safety requirements than those of the regular airlines. they fly under a different type of certificate. Wonder if that is the same in places like South America and Greece.

Now, back to my driving vs. flying. Right above this article on a online newspaper that I read, there was an article about an escaped convict that had stolen a car and did 70 MPH head-on into a woman on a suburban street. The convict lived. The innocent woman did not.

I would bet that statistics would show that you would have a BETTER chance of you getting killed by an escaped convict who has just stolen an SUV than you flying in an airplane.

Prayers for the woman and her family who were killed in THAT crash, as well as the passengers and families of the crash in South America.
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Old 08-16-2005, 04:49 PM   #14
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Originally posted by zoney!



Do you drive?
No. I don't have good enough vision to pass the sight test.

As much as the statistics of the incredibly low likelihood of being in a plane crash are comforting, what I'd like to see are statistics on the odds of actually surviving a plane crash.
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Old 08-16-2005, 04:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
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No. I don't have good enough vision to pass the sight test.

As much as the statistics of the incredibly low likelihood of being in a plane crash are comforting, what I'd like to see are statistics on the odds of actually surviving a plane crash.
There are people who have fallen 13,000 ft from a place and have survived, if you are still on the plain when it crashes, i reckon you are pretty much dead, explosions, fire, smoke would all kill you...i think most survivors come if the plane breaks up in the air, rather than crashing altogether at once....
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