Comair 5191 accident

skoker

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 6, 2005
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(I'm shocked that 8 hours later and I'm the only post on this?)

Comair flight 5191, a CRJ-200 N431CA, enroute from Lexington, KY, to Atlanta, GA, around 6:10AM this morning. Early reports look like it took off from the wrong runway, one that was only 3500 feet long and far too short for that equipment.
 

iGary

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May 26, 2004
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Randy's House
skoker said:
(I'm shocked that 8 hours later and I'm the only post on this?)

Comair flight 5191, a CRJ-200 N431CA, enroute from Lexington, KY, to Atlanta, GA, around 6:10AM this morning. Early reports look like it took off from the wrong runway, one that was only 3500 feet long and far too short for that equipment.
It's a slow day here and commuter airline crashes rarely get much attention, unfortunately.
 

kuyu

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2003
694
0
Louisville
I'm in Lexington right now visiting my mom. I've taken that exact flight umpteen times, probably on that particular plane. The mayor here said it best, "we don't just sympathize with the friends and families, we are the friends and families."

Unforunately I have friends of friends who were on that flight. My heart goes out to their loved ones.
 

BoyBach

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2006
3,023
2
UK
50 dead and only one survivor, who is seriously ill at hospital. Looks like a terrible, terrible accident.

BBC Website said:
Comair had bought the aircraft in 2001 and it had a clean maintenance record, with 12,000 cycles of take-offs and landings, Mr Bornhorst told reporters.
Many dead in Kentucky plane crash - BBC
 

iGary

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May 26, 2004
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You gotta be half asleep to use the wrong runway, especially since they prolly landed there the night before. It's not like it's LAX.

 

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skoker

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Aug 6, 2005
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Some updates:

Comair provides updated information regarding Flight 5191
Comair President Don Bornhorst provided the following updates regarding Flight 5191 in a press conference held at 2:30 p.m. today in Lexington, Ky.
Comair Flight 5191, a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ100 operating from Lexington's Blue Grass Airport to Atlanta, was involved in an accident at approximately 6 a.m. today near the Lexington airport. The flight was carrying 47 passengers and three crew members.

Comair has confirmed that the following crew members were onboard Flight 5191: Captain Jeffrey Clay, 35, has been an employee of Comair since November 1999 and is based at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport; First Officer James Polehinke, 44, has been an employee of Comair since March 2002 and is based at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York; Flight Attendant Kelly Heyer, 27, has been a Comair employee since July 2004 and is based at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. There was one survivor of the accident.

Comair continues to contact families of those who were onboard Flight 5191 and a dedicated toll-free phone line remains available to family and friends with inquiries about this accident. The center can be reached at 1-800-801-0088. Employee volunteers of the Comair and Delta Care Team were dispatched to assist family members and loved ones of passengers and crew on Comair Flight 5191 shortly after it was learned that the flight had been involved in an accident. An initial group of 54 team members was dispatched from around the system to Lexington and Atlanta where the families of passengers were waiting. Comair is cooperating fully with all authorities who will be investigating this accident, including the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and federal, local and state law enforcement agencies. The final determination of the probable cause of the accident will ultimately by determined by the NTSB.

Comair has confirmed the following information about the CRJ100 involved in this accident.
Aircraft Type: 50-seat Bombardier CRJ100 regional
jet (Model: CL600-2B19)
Tail number 7472
Registration number N431CA
Manufactured in: January 2001
Delivered to Comair: January 30, 2001
Airframe Cycles (total number of landings): 12,048
Airframe Hours (flight time): 14,536.2
Last overnight maintenance check for aircraft: Lexington 8-26-06
 
Oh my God! This is 5 minutes from my house and I didn't know about it until about 12 hours later. We were heading into Lexington and all of a sudden the three inbound lanes of traffic were at a standstill. At that point I flipped the radio over the A.M. and that's all they were talking about. Turns out a guy my wife went to school with and his new wife were on the plane. Everyone does seem to know each other around here. I'm dreading the moment they release all of the names of the victims.
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
13,624
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Sod off
A terrible accident, especially because it wasn't a mechanical failure but a simple mistake on someone's part...

I'm taking a little turboprop to Minneapolis to get a flight to Cleveland in just a few days, so I'm a little less thrilled about air travel right now.
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
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Sod off
The pilot is dead though...does the copilot share total responsibility for the crew/passengers? I suppose he does.

We still don't know the nature of his injuries though - he may be a vegetable and unable to give an account of what happened, though the black boxes and the control tower's records should show whether they were cleared for the wrong runway or not. But even if they were don't you think one of the pilots would have said "Hey, that's the wrong runway"?
 

iGary

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May 26, 2004
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Lord Blackadder said:
The pilot is dead though...does the copilot share total responsibility for the crew/passengers? I suppose he does.

We still don't know the nature of his injuries though - he may be a vegetable and unable to give an account of what happened, though the black boxes and the control tower's records should show whether they were cleared for the wrong runway or not. But even if they were don't you think one of the pilots would have said "Hey, that's the wrong runway"?
Well I have certainly been in civil aircraft where we were like "oh ****, we're going the wrong way (taxiway or other)," but made the correction before doing something stupid, or the tower yelled at us - but that was always at "strange airports" we didn't know. I would assume these guys had landed there, at least, the night before and knew what was what.

Where was the tower when this happened?

"Uh, hello Comair 5191, wrong runway."
 

LethalWolfe

macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
9,368
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Los Angeles
Lord Blackadder said:
I'm taking a little turboprop to Minneapolis to get a flight to Cleveland in just a few days, so I'm a little less thrilled about air travel right now.
If it makes you feel better there were thousands of flights in the US yesterday that went perfectly fine.


Lethal
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,124
2
North Carolina
I read somewhere that for airplanes to equal the danger level of automobiles, there would have to be 19 commercial jetliner crashes every *day*. Yep, airplanes are pretty safe.
 

~Shard~

macrumors P6
Jun 4, 2003
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1123.6536.5321
wordmunger said:
I read somewhere that for airplanes to equal the danger level of automobiles, there would have to be 19 commercial jetliner crashes every *day*. Yep, airplanes are pretty safe.
Yes, that's true - however as opposed to fender benders and other minor car accidents, 99% of all airline accidents have devestating results such as this one. :(
 

Dr.Gargoyle

macrumors 65816
Oct 8, 2004
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~Shard~ said:
Yes, that's true - however as opposed to fender benders and other minor car accidents, 99% of all airline accidents have devestating results such as this one. :(
In the United States alone, more than 40,000 people die in traffic accidents each year... More than 100 people per day.
2002 - 42,815 people dead.
 

~Shard~

macrumors P6
Jun 4, 2003
18,377
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Dr.Gargoyle said:
In the United States alone, more than 40,000 people die in traffic accidents each year... More than 100 people per day.
2002 - 42,815 people dead.
Oh yes, I realize that - not trying to downplay traffic accidents at all. I'm just saying that when comparing airline crashes versus car crashes, the fatality rate is much higher in airline accidents (even though they occur far less frequently). Airline accidents obviously have a far lower percentage of survivability than traffic accidents.
 

gauchogolfer

macrumors 603
Jan 28, 2005
5,555
5
American Riviera
I agree on putting plane crash rates into perspective. For reference, in 2005, 43,443 people were killed in auto accidents in the US. I'm flying to Tokyo on Friday, and I'm more worried about my drive into Nice (read, not at all) than I am about my plane flight.

Edit: oops, forgot to hit 'send post' button till someone else commented on the statistics. Sorry.
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,124
2
North Carolina
According to this article, there are about 150,000 auto deaths a year world wide. So the 19 plane crashes a day figure must be wrong. If you assume 150 passengers/flight, you'd have to crash 1000 planes a year, or 3 per day worldwide, to equal auto fatalities.

This still suggests that planes are much safer!
 

IJ Reilly

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Jul 16, 2002
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iGary said:
Could the first officer be charged with involuntary manslaughter?
We'll have to wait for the NTSC to evaluate the cockpit voice recorder, but I'm guessing at this point that at least a portion of the fault will be assigned to the tower. The crew may have received unclear taxi instructions, and at the very least, the tower should have noticed prior to issuing takeoff clearance that the airplane hadn't taxied far enough to take off on the designated runway. All in all, a very strange accident. A lot of people needed to screw up to make this happen.
 

iGary

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May 26, 2004
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Randy's House
IJ Reilly said:
We'll have to wait for the NTSC to evaluate the cockpit voice recorder, but I'm guessing at this point that at least a portion of the fault will be assigned to the tower. The crew may have received unclear taxi instructions, and at the very least, the tower should have noticed prior to issuing takeoff clearance that the airplane hadn't taxied far enough to take off on the designated runway. All in all, a very strange accident. A lot of people needed to screw up to make this happen.
Indeed.

The tower must have cleared them for departure immediately after clearing them to push, and then forgotten them.

Anyway, yeah.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,892
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iGary said:
Indeed.

The tower must have cleared them for departure immediately after clearing them to push, and then forgotten them.

Anyway, yeah.
Small quiet airport, wee hours of the morning, people can get complacent. When that happens, other people can die.
 

RBMaraman

macrumors 65816
Jul 25, 2002
1,217
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Louisville, KY
I just wanted to give you guys an update on the information the NTSB and the FAA have released to the media in Louisville.

1. Sunrise was at 7:09am on Sunday, which is important because....

2. The lights on the short runway and lights on signs pointing out runways were malfunctioning and not lit, meaning the pilots could not see which runway was which or the length of the runway (because at 6am it was nearly pitch-black).

3. One week ago, the Taxi ways were repaved. During this time, they also changed the paths planes take to the runways. These pilots probably were not aware that the taxi paths had changed. This may have led them to the short runway instead of the long.

The first officer is still in critical condition. His family has requested that very limited information about his condition be released to the media. I'm sure we'll learn more once his condition improves.