Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pilots walk away from ATR-42 accident in Lubbock

ATR-42 (N902FX)Early yesterday morning, January 27, 2009, an ATR-42 aircraft crashed and caught fire at Lubbock, Texas. Both crew members survived. Press reports said that the two pilots 'walked away' from the accident scene. They were treated at a hospital for undisclosed injuries, and later released. According to the FAA preliminary report about the accident, the aircraft was "destroyed."

The accident happened as the cargo aircraft, operating as Empire Airlines Flight 8284, was arriving at Lubbock's Preston Smith International Airport from Fort Worth-Alliance Airport. According to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the aircraft crashed 300 feet short of the threshold while on an Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach to Runway 17. The runway was temporarily shut down after the accident.

The NTSB said that weather at the time of the accident was reported as overcast ceiling at 500 feet above ground level, visibility 2 miles with light freezing drizzle and mist, and wind 020 degrees at 11 knots.

This morning the NTSB announced that it had dispatched a team of investigators to Lubbock. The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder will be removed from the wreckage and shipped to the NTSB's laboratories in Washington, D.C.

The accident aircraft (registration N902FX) was owned by FedEx and operated by Empire Airlines.

[Photo Source]

UPDATE: The KCBD News 11 website has video footage of the ATR-42 accident scene (and related videos - look for more links on the page).

UPDATE Jan. 31, 2009: Leah Yeager, the NTSB's lead investigator for the FedEx/Empire Airlines ATR-42 accident in Lubbock, Texas held a press conference about the preliminary stages of the investigation. KCBD News 11 has posted a video of that press conference.