Monday, September 28, 2009

UK mother relives horror of Venezuelan plane crash that killed son

Article at VH Headline, Venezuela 24 September 2009.

A woman told an inquest of the terrifying moment when a plane she was flying in crashed on take-off and killed her six-year-old son. Jane Horne was with her son, Thomas, and husband, David, as they boarded the flight at Canaima, in the south of Venezuela, in heavy rain during a two-week holiday.

Air crash expert Tim Atkinson, from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, based in Farnborough, Hampshire, said that witness accounts had made him very confident he knew what had happened. The plane had stalled soon after take-off because it had not had sufficient time to gather enough speed and therefore lift to stay in the air.

The ''human error'' by the pilot of the aircraft was that he first decided to abort the take-off but then changed his mind, leaving not enough runway to safely get into the air. Flooding on the runway had also slowed the plane.

Mr Atkinson makes a very good observation that the pilot had a real incentive to go ahead with the flight even though it was raining heavily. The plane could only fly in good visual conditions and was not allowed to fly at night. Taking off at 3.30pm would have been the last time it could have flown that day before a substantial delay.

Andy Brazier

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