Boeing 737 crash-lands in Colombia; at least one killed

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Monday, August 16, 2010

The AIRES Boeing 737 involved in the accident.
Image: Nicop.

At least one person died and five more are injured after a Boeing 737 crashed onto the runway at 1:49 a.m. local time today on San Andres Island, Colombia. The jet, carrying 131 people, broke into three pieces.

The AIRES flight departed Bogotá around midnight and, according to Colombian Air Force Colonel David Barrero, officials are investigating reports the aircraft experienced a lightning strike. Of the 125 passengers and six crewmembers, it is believed the only fatality was 65-year-old Amar Fernandez de Barreto. Thaindian claims that up to 114 were injured.

San Andres Island's airport has closed its 7,545-foot (2,300-meter) runway until the wreckage can be removed. "It was a miracle and we have to give thanks to God," said Pedro Gallardo, governor of the resort destination island with around 78,000 inhabitants, adding it was lucky there were not more casualties.

National police director Orlando Paez in an interview with The Star said a group of police officers awaiting the plane for their own flight back to the mainland assisted with rescue efforts. Barrero commented that "the skill of the pilot kept the plane from colliding with the airport." The landing occurred during a storm.

A press release from the US National Transportation Safety Board, seen by Wikinews prior to its public release, identified the flight as number 8250. The NTSB is sending a team of four investigators, as well as technical advisers from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, to assist the Colombia Civil Aviation Authority in their investigation.

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