NASA air­craft in emer­gency land­ing

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - News -

IT WAS ALL HANDS on deck at the Grant­ley Adams In­ter­na­tional Air­port (GAIA) yes­ter­day morn­ing as emer­gency ser­vices re­sponded to a dis­tress call from an ail­ing United States Na­tional Aero­nau­tics and Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NASA) air­craft.

The Lock­heed Mar­tin P-3B Orion Air­craft (N426NA) left the air­port around 6:48 a.m. bound for São Tomé and Príncipe with 20 per­son­nel on board af­ter an overnight fuel stop in the is­land.

Just 40 miles into its jour­ney, how­ever, the air­craft’s pi­lot con­tacted the GAIA’S Air Traf­fic Con­trol to re­port it had to shut down one of its four en­gines that had caught afire.

With full emer­gency pro­to­cols in ef­fect and nearly 12 hours of fuel on board, the pi­lots be­gan to dump fuel in a bid to lose weight and make it back to Bar­ba­dos.

While the ini­tial re­turn time was sched­uled for 7:15 a.m., the NASA air­craft’s re­turn was drawn out for al­most two hours more as it dumped the fuel at sea.

Mean­while, emer­gency ser­vices could be seen rush­ing into po­si­tion at the GAIA in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the 104-foot-long air­craft’s touch­down.

Three ten­ders

Bar­ba­dos Fire Ser­vice of­fi­cials told the DAILY NA­TION three crash ten­ders, three se­nior of­fi­cers and seven fire of­fi­cers re­sponded to the dis­tress sig­nal.

At ap­prox­i­mately 8:31 a.m. the air­craft ap­proached the air­port’s run­way from the eastern end, safely touch­ing down and park­ing at po­si­tion 22.

A Min­istry of In­ter­na­tional Trans­port state­ment re­ported the crew as be­ing un­scathed by the har­row­ing events, adding that de­spite the hours-long in­ci­dent, the air­port re­mained op­er­a­tional and was fully open.

A state­ment from the US Em­bassy said that the air­craft and all per­son­nel on board were safe.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the em­bassy thanked the Bar­ba­dos Gov­ern­ment and emer­gency per­son­nel for their sup­port.

NASA’S Air­borne Lab­o­ra­tory Ex­per­i­menter Hand­book said the N426NA has been op­er­at­ing since 1991 and is used for re­search ac­tiv­i­ties on Earth, and at­mo­spheric and space sci­ences.

It op­er­ates out of God­dard Space Flight Cen­tre’s Wal­lops Flight Fa­cil­ity, Virginia. (AD)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Barbados

© PressReader. All rights reserved.