Canada of­fi­cials ex­am­ine rea­sons for plane land­ing short of Hal­i­fax run­way

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY ROB GIL­LIES

An Air Canada pas­sen­ger plane landed so sig­nif­i­cantly short of the run­way in Hal­i­fax that it hit a power line and knocked out power at the air­port, the lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor said Mon­day.

The Air­bus 320 landed 335 me­ters short of the run­way dur­ing an early Sun­day morn­ing snow­storm. It crashed into a bank of an­ten­nas and sheared off its main land­ing gear, nose cone and an en­gine be­fore skid­ding on its belly. Twen­ty­five peo­ple were taken to the hos­pi­tal and all but one has been re­leased.

Mike Cun­ning­ham, re­gional manager for Canada’s Trans­porta­tion Safety Board, said in­ves­ti­ga­tors are still try­ing to de­ter­mine why Flight AC624 from Toronto landed pre­ma­turely.

Cun­ning­ham said they in­ter­viewed the pi­lots Sun­day night but that he is pro­hib­ited from com­ment­ing about what they said. The cock­pit voice recorder and flight data are be­ing down­loaded Mon­day.

The air­port ter­mi­nal build­ing went black as the plane hit a power line out­side sev­eral hun­dred feet out­side the air­port.

“That’s pretty unique. The power line it­self is well be­yond the ob­sta­cle clear­ance cri­te­ria from that run­way and that air­craft touched down sig­nif­i­cantly short of the run­way,” Cun­ning­ham said in a tele­phone in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press.

A power gen­er­a­tor on the air- field kicked in so the light­ing there was not af­fected but two gen­er­a­tors failed in the ter­mi­nal build­ing. The power out­age meant an emer­gency re­sponse cen­ter had to be moved to a nearby ho­tel. Nova Sco­tia Power later re­stored power, and po­lice said a power line south of the run­way out­side air­port prop­erty was dam­aged.

Cun­ning­ham said he’s sure the power out­age was a con­tribut­ing fac­tor in the de­layed re­sponse in re­triev­ing the 133 pas­sen­gers and five crew mem­bers. Pas­sen­gers com­plained they were left stand­ing on the tar­mac for up to 50 min­utes as they were lashed by wind-whipped snow be­fore buses ar­rived. He said the length of time it took to re­spond will be a big part of their in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Hal­i­fax Stan­field In­ter­na­tional Air­port spokesman Peter Spur­way also said they are also con­duct­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into their re­sponse.

“We can do bet­ter than that,” Spur­way said. “The ques­tion is how do we move 138 peo­ple safely off a run­way in a snow­storm at quar­ter to one on a Sun­day morn­ing.”

Spur­way said they were lucky peo­ple weren’t se­ri­ously hurt. “We are hugely for­tu­nate and they are hugely for­tu­nate and we are very, very grate­ful for that,” he said.

AP

A Trans­porta­tion Safety Board in­ves­ti­ga­tor in­spects an en­gine on Mon­day, March 30, at the crash site of Air Canada AC624 that crashed early on Sun­day dur­ing a snow­storm, at Stan­field In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Hal­i­fax, Nova Sco­tia.

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