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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Crash: TACA A320 at Tegucigalpa on May 30th 2008, overran runway and crashed into embankment

A TACA (El Salvador) Airbus A320-200, registration EI-TAF performing flight TA390 from San Salvador (El Salvador) to Tegucigalpa (Honduras) with 124 passengers and 11 crew (5 off duty), overran the runway while landing at Tegucigalpa Toncontin Airport's runway 02 in bad weather and crashed into a shop and cars past the runway.

The fire chief of Honduras has confirmed 5 fatalities, amongst them the captain of the flight and two people on the ground, and 65 injuries. The first officer was said to be in critical condition but is now stable. Passengers in the business class section have been most affected.

Tropical storm Alma was battering Nicaragua and Honduras earlier, but was loosing strength quickly as it moved inland.

The weather data suggest, that the airport may have been below minima, but the actual weather conditions at the time of the approach may have been different to the observation time for the METARs. Official Minima for the VOR/DME approach, that has to be flown as a circling approach (no straight in permitted), are 5620 feet MSL with 2nm visibility.

Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya announced, that only aircraft categories A and B will be allowed into Tegucigalpa's Toncontin Airport in the future. He declared the now military "Soto Cano Airport" at Palmerola to be an international airport with immediate effect.

Within 60 days the airport at Palmerola (ICAO Identifier MHSC) shall take over commercial operations and also handle the international traffic, that was handled at Toncontin so far.

The largest aircraft operating into Toncontin was a Boeing 757 of American Airlines (category D) operated daily from Miami into Toncontin, flight AA953 and AA954.

Reduction to category A and B means, that only aircraft with approach speeds up to 120 knots indicated at maximum landing weight will be permitted into the airport. The largest aircraft matching this specification is a British Aerospace BAe146-300 respective Avro RJ-100, as well as most turboprop airliners like the de Havilland Dash 8.

Category A identifies aircraft with approach speeds less than 91 knots, Category B more than 90 but less than 121 knots, Category C more than 120 but less than 141 knots, Category D more than 140 but less than 166 knots and Category E above 165 knots, always at maximum landing weight. [READ MORE]

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Local News Coverage of Accident:

American B-757 landing at same airport: