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1 July 1999 – Goroka Area, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea air safety investigators have released a preliminary report into the crash of an EMBRAER EMB-IIOP (Bandeirante) earlier this month which killed 17 people, including three Australians. The Bandeirante crashed as it was approaching to land at Goroka on June 17. Papua New Guinea's Air Safety Investigations Unit says the plane was flying below the minimum safe altitude for the area and it was flying in cloud, something it should not have been doing with only one pilot on board and its auto-pilot out of service. There were no signs of aircraft malfunction or pilot incapacitation. The report raises concern about the pilot's performance, but says funding cuts by the PNG Government have hampered the unit's efforts to monitor and check flight crew performance. In this case, Australia's Bureau of Air Safety Investigations is helping its PNG counterpart.
9 July 1999 – Hong Kong
Families of victims killed in the mysterious SilkAir jetliner crash in Indonesia have asked the Singapore government to investigate the incident, a news report said today. The relatives are bitter over the slow pace of investigations by Indonesian authorities and a lack of information about findings, The Straits Times newspaper said. "We urge the Singapore government to conduct its own investigation into this needless loss of lives and make public the steps it has taken to ensure that this does not happen again," the families' representatives said. Seven representatives aired their complaints at a two-hour meeting with Yaacob Ibrahim, parliamentary secretary to Singapore's communications minister, yesterday. They had initially requested a meeting with Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. SilkAir flight M1185 (Boeing 737-300 9V-TRF), en route from Jakarta to Singapore, crashed into an Indonesian river on December 19, 1997. All 104 people on board were killed. Weather, terrorism and maintenance have been ruled out as possible causes. The aircraft's voice and data recorders apparently stopped functioning minutes before the crash. For months, news media have speculated the pilot may have deliberately crashed the aircraft. However, investigators have said they are focusing on the financial affairs of the aircraft's crew. Reports about what may have happened, if left unchallenged, would "affect the image of Singapore in the aviation world", the family representatives said. Mr Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday that he would convey the families' concerns to the prime minister. He also said Singapore's government had to work under the provisions of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which dictate investigations be carried out by agencies in the country where a crash takes place. SilkAir has offered each of the crash victims' families US$140,000 in compensation, but most remain frustrated and are still demanding answers.
14 July 1999 – Miami, USA
An airline maintenance company was charged today with murder and manslaughter in the 1996 ValuJet (McDonnell Douglas DC-9, N904VJ) crash that killed 110 people in the Everglades. SabreTech Inc. also was charged with unlawful transportation of hazardous waste. The third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges, both state charges, are felonies. It was not immediately clear what penalties the company could face if convicted. Federal indictments were also expected today, naming SabreTech employees involved in the packaging of the illegal cargo blamed for the crash, Justice Department sources said earlier today. They spoke on condition of anonymity. Crash investigators found that workers for ValuJet's maintenance contractor, SabreTech Inc., improperly packed oxygen canisters that were loaded into the aircraft's cargo hold. Flames from a cargo fire tore through the floor of the passenger cabin, causing the DC-9 heading from Miami to Atlanta to plunge into the Everglades minutes after take-off on May 11, 1996. The aircraft was virtually obliterated on impact and all 105 passengers and five crew members were killed. The National Transportation Safety Board investigation spread the blame among SabreTech, ValuJet and the Federal Aviation Administration for lax oversight. Relatives of the victims have pushed for criminal charges against SabreTech and ValuJet executives, complaining that too much time had passed without action. Two of those expected to be indicted were the mechanics who removed the oxygen generators from two aircraft SabreTech was overhauling for ValuJet. They were expected to be charged with falsifying documents for signing work cards that said they had installed plastic safety caps on the generators, although no caps had been installed. Officials at SabreTech had said yesterday that they were aware federal charges were imminent. The FAA has proposed a record fine of $2.25 million against SabreTech for improperly handling the canisters. The company is challenging the fine. The FAA grounded Atlanta-based ValuJet after the crash. The airline later merged with the Orlando-based discount carrier AirTran and now flies under the name AirTran. SabreTech's maintenance operation, which was owned by St Louis-based Sabreliner, has since been sold.
20 July 1999 – Managua, Nicaragua
The search for a commercial aeroplane carrying 14 passengers and two crew members that disappeared near Nicaragua's Caribbean coast was suspended tonight until daylight, airline officials said. A self-activated, automatic emergency locator transmission signal from the missing Cessna 208 Caravan had been picked up by aircraft flying in the area where the aircraft was believed to have disappeared, Alfredo Caballero, owner of the Nicaraguan airline La Costena told a news conference attended by family members of missing passengers. Although officials knew the general location of the transmission, rainy, windy weather prevented military and other search aircraft from landing in the remote, forested region about 90 miles east of Managua, and the search was called off until morning, Caballero said. The La Costena flight left Managua at 10.00 hrs for the coastal city of Bluefields, 180 miles east of the capital and was last heard from an hour later about ten miles outside of Bluefields. The pilot did not report any difficulties at that time, Caballero said. It was still unclear tonight whether the plane had crashed, he said. Airline officials said it was too dangerous for the two military helicopters and La Costena aeroplane conducting the search to continue after dark.
21 July 1999 – Fourteen passengers and two crew members were killed when a commercial aeroplane crashed on a remote hillside near Nicaragua's Caribbean coast yesterday, the airline said after finding the wreckage today. "The plane crashed for unknown reasons and no survivors were found," Alfredo Caballero, owner of the Nicaraguan airline La Costena told a news conference. The wreckage of the Cessna 208 Caravan was discovered this morning on a forested hillside about 150 miles east of Managua. Military and La Costena helicopters conducted the search. "The plane was completely destroyed," Army spokesman Captain Milton Sandoval said. Two children were among the 14 passengers on the plane, which was crewed by a pilot and co-pilot, Caballero said. The pilot did not report any difficulties at that time, Caballero said. The aircraft had passed routine inspection before leaving Managua, and despite rainy weather in the Bluefields region, the weather was not prohibitive to aeroplane travel, Caballero added. Officials were continuing to investigate the crash.
24 July 1999 – Viti Levu, Fiji
An Air Fiji Lid Embraer EMB-IIOP (Bandeirante) crashed today killing all 17 on board, local radio quoted Fijian police as saying. The plane, which slammed into a mountainside, was earlier reported to have been carrying 14 passengers and two crew, but police said late this afternoon there were 15 passengers and two crew. "We have located the bodies and we will begin ferrying them out at first light tomorrow," local radio quoted police commissioner Isikia Savua as saying. "Of the 17 that were in the plane, we have now confirmed that they belong to various nationalities, one of them from New Zealand, five Australians, one Japanese, one Chinese and nine Fiji nationals," Savua said. A spokeswoman for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the number of Australians on board had been revised to five, including an infant, and their next of kin had been notified. Earlier, she had said there were two Australians on the plane, which went down in the central region of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu. The aircraft was flying from Suva to the international airport at Nadi when it crashed. It took several hours for police to get to the site of the wreckage because it is in a remote, forested area accessible only on foot. The Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji and the police have yet to determine what caused the plane to go down.
25 July 1999 – Police recovered 16 bodies today from the wreckage of an Air Fiji plane that slammed into a mountainside in the South Pacific island nation, a police spokesman said. Searchers stopped looking due to poor light after recovering the bodies and taking them to Suva's airport for identification today, police superintendent Abdul Sattar said. "One body is still missing. The search will continue at first light tomorrow," Sattar said from Suva's central police station. The nation's civil aviation authority and police had no immediate comment on the possible cause of the crash. One person earlier reported by police as a New Zealander was from Tonga, another reported as Chinese was Fijian, and one Fijian was a dual national also holding Australian citizenship.
10 August 1999 – An Air Fiji passenger aircraft that crashed last month into a mountainside in the South Pacific island nation was flying too low, according to a report by three Australian investigators. But the three investigators, from the Australian Bureau of Air Safety Investigation, said they could not work out why the Brazilian-built Bandeirante aircraft was flying below its minimum safe altitude. "The investigation team could not determine the reason for the aircraft being below the lowest safe altitude of 5,400 feet," the investigators' report said. "The flight crew of Air Fiji Flight 121 … held the appropriate licences and ratings for the flight and their medical certificates were current. Each pilot had recorded 80 flight hours during the preceding 28 days," the report added. "Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is unlikely that the captain received adequate rest prior to reporting for duty." The report was released late yesterday by Fijian Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudry. Civil Aviation Minister Meli Bogileka said a fuller report would be released in about two months. "The purpose of the government releasing the preliminary report now is to allay fears and anxiety of the public on the safety of aviation in Fiji," Bogileka said.
30 July 1999 – Caracas, Venezuela
A small commercial aircraft with 16 people on board disappeared today while on a short domestic flight in south-west Venezuela near the border with Colombia, officials said. The twin-engined Beechcraft 1900D of local airline Avior, with 14 passengers and two crew, was flying from the provincial capital of Barinas to Guasdualito, on the Colombia-Venezuela border. "There are three hypotheses to explain the plane's disappearance – an accident, a forced landing or a hijack," said Victor Delgado, head of air transport at the Transport Ministry. An air and land search has been launched, officials said. Avior official Adolfo Fuentes said it could be a hijack, possibly by drug traffickers. "We lost contact with the aircraft about 20 miles from Guasdualito … we presume this is a hijack because we haven't received any other information that could prove otherwise," he told the Globovision television network.
31 July 1999 – Bad weather hampered the search, today, for a small commercial airliner that went missing yesterday, on Venezuela's border with Colombia, with about 16 people on board, officials said. The twin-engined Beechcraft operated by Avior was travelling between the two south-western towns of Barinas and Guasdualito when it disappeared from radar on Friday morning. Venezuelan army officials in the area said an air and land search, using three aeroplanes and a helicopter, was continuing this afternoon, after bad weather hampered efforts in the morning. The Venezuelan army also formally requested Colombia's help in the search today. An Avior official said yesterday there were 16 people on board the aircraft. But a Venezuelan government statement today said there were 15. The police said five of the passengers' names did not match their identity card numbers on the passenger list.
1 August 1999 – Venezuelan airliner, missing since July 30, with 16 people on board, was almost certainly hijacked, possibly by Colombian drug traffickers, Venezuelan authorities said today. The twin-engine aircraft, operated by Avior, has eluded a two-day air and ground search since it disappeared from radar on a short flight between the south-western towns of Barinas and Guasdualito, near the Venezuelan border with Colombia. "We have searched our territory and, given the location and proximity, we strongly suspect it has been taken to Colombia," said Venezuelan Defence Minister Raul Salazar. Salazar has asked Colombia to help search for the aircraft. A similar plane, operated by the same Venezuelan carrier, was hijacked by drug traffickers in July last year (1998) and was later found at a clandestine airstrip in northern Colombia. Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN) denied any involvement.
9 August 1999 – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez thanked Colombia's largest guerrilla group, today, for allowing a hijacked aircraft, its passengers and crew to return to Venezuela. But it was still unclear what had exactly happened to the airliner in the days since it disappearance, on July 30, with 16 people on board, during a short domestic flight between the south-western Venezuelan towns of Barinas and Guasdualito. The aircraft's two-man crew flew the twin-engine Beechcraft into Guasdualito yesterday. Interior Minister Ignacio Arcaya said that eight passengers in the custody of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) would return to Guasdualito later on today. "I understand there are eight passengers, the others were the hijackers," he said. "They are in a FARC camp. No ransom of any kind was paid and we don't want to speculate on what happened." A FARC communique said the small commercial aircraft was hijacked by opponents of Chavez's government and was found by FARC troops in the oil-rich province of Arauca on July 31. The statement, dated Thursday (August 5) and made available today, said the aircraft hijackers had fled.
31 July 1999 – Marine City, USA
State police confirmed that ten people on board a small aircraft were killed when it crashed, shortly after take-off at the Marine City airport, about 40 miles north-east of Detroit. The victims include the pilot and members of a skydiving club flying out for a routine jump this morning. Witnesses told police they saw the aircraft bank hard to the left and plummet into a field, where it exploded. Weather conditions were good when the aircraft went down around 08.20, EDT. Federal investigators are trying to determine the exact cause of the mishap. The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the probe. Crash witness Mike Miller said, it looked like it was heading back to the airport. Then it crashed and exploded. St Clair County emergency co-ordinator Jeffrey Friedland said the pilot of the Beech King Air 200 was a member of the skydiving club, which was based in Marine City. He said the skydivers were experienced and usually jumped on the weekends.
3 August 1999 – Federal safety investigators are trying to determine whether a load shift may have caused the crash of a skydiving team Saturday (July 31) in Michigan. The crash of the Beechcraft King Air 200 at the Marine City Airport killed nine skydivers and their pilot. National Transportation Safety Board official Lauren Peduzzi said today investigators suspect the load was a factor in the accident. Peduzzi said officials also want to know whether the parachutists were belted in place during take-off. The aircraft owned by the Parahawks Skydiving Center cleared a 90ft power line shortly after take-off before crashing moments later in a field. Federal officials have moved the plane's wreckage to Avantgarde Aviation at the Oakland County International Airport for examination.
7 August 1999 – Santo Antao, Cape Verde
All 18 passengers and crew on a domestic flight in the West African Cape Verde islands were feared dead today after their aircraft crashed in bad weather, Portugal's Lusa news agency reported. The agency quoted Prime Minister Carlos Veiga as saying that "at least 18 people may have died". The aircraft, a Dornier 228 operated by TACV-Cabo Verde Airlines, came down on the island of Santo Antao shortly after the pilot had radioed to say he was aborting a landing because of fog, the company said in a statement. TACV reported the pilot as saying that he was returning to the nearby island of Sao Vicente from where the aircraft had left. The aircraft came down in an inaccessible part of Santo Antao. TACV said it would take rescue workers some two hours to reach the site on foot as there was no road. Lusa said most of those on board were believed to be Cape Verdian nationals.
31 August 1999 – Buenos Aires, Argentina
An Argentine passenger aircraft crashed on take-off from an airport near Buenos Aires' city centre today, ploughing off the runway onto a road, but officials could not confirm reports of up to 80 people feared dead. The Boeing 737 from private airline LAPA, bound for Argentina's second largest city, Cordoba, with 95 passengers and six crew members on board, lost control on the runway of Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, careened through the perimeter fence in flames onto a busy road by the River Plate and came to a halt by a golf course. Rescue workers with dogs searched the charred, mangled wreckage for passengers and possible victims from cars hit by the burning aircraft. The Air Force said it was investigating the crash and already had retrieved the "black box" flight recorder. "We still have to cross-check the list of passengers who boarded the aircraft with the list of survivors in hospital," Argentine Security Secretary Miguel Angel Toma said. "On that basis, we will be able to estimate a preliminary toll." The airline did not estimate how many people were killed in the crash but said 25 people had been injured. Local media reports estimated that 80 people could have died and city hospitals received 30 injured people, including seven hurt on the ground. Toma said authorities were still trying to determine how many passers-by were killed when the aircraft hit the ground. "I heard the turbines giving it speed. It rose half a metre into the air, then all I heard was silence," survivor Fabian Nunez said. "Most people were on fire. Only one door opened." Doctors said some of the victims had up to 96 per cent of their bodies covered in burns. An Air Force spokesman said the plane bounced along the runway onto the busy Costanera Avenue. The airport itself was immediately closed and helicopters and ambulances took victims to hospitals while dozens of fire engines soaked the wreckage, part of which was still burning. Boeing spokesman Sean Griffin said Boeing was sending investigators to assist the crash probe.
At least 80 people were feared dead after an Argentine passenger aircraft crashed today after a failed take-off at Buenos Aires' metropolitan airport, near the city centre, local media reported. City officials said there were at least 96 passengers on the Boeing 737 from private airline LAPA. Hospitals said they had received at least 23 injured survivors and two bodies but witnesses at the scene saw more bodies around the wreckage. Local media said the crash occurred as the aircraft was trying to take-off at 21.00, local time, for a flight to Cordoba. "It [the aircraft] went past the length of the runway. There is a vehicle that was hit," said an Air Force spokesman at the scene. Television images showed bodies on the ground at the site and burning wreckage at a golf course adjacent to the inner city airport. The aircraft apparently skidded across a busy main road at the end of the runway and dragged cars in traffic with it to its resting place on the golf course. Local television reported that there were 96 passengers on board the flight and five crew, while Federal Police Chief Baltazar Garcia said eight survivors had been counted. Sixty ambulances went to the site, television reported.
1 September 1999 – At least 70 people were confirmed dead after a Lineas Aereas Privadas Argentinas (LAPA) Boeing 737 (LV-WRZ) skipped off the runway at Buenos Aires' metropolitan airport into heavy traffic and erupted into a fireball, Argentine officials said today. "There are 70 dead", from last night's accident, a morgue official said. "There are ten people that were not on board the plane but were [killed] in the street." The death toll included motorists driving on a major artery alongside Jorge Newbery metropolitan airport, in the path of the Boeing 737 carrying 98 passengers and five crew. The aircraft shot off the runway and across the busy roadway before bursting into flames on a nearby golf course. So far, 44 people have been counted among the injured. Doctors said some survivors had up to 96 per cent of their bodies covered in burns. Witnesses said severed limbs were strewn throughout the wreckage. "The survivors suffered amputations, burns, fractures, cuts to the face and hands," said Hector Lombardo, Buenos Aires' city health chief. The airliner's pilot and co-pilot were among the fatalities, he said. Air Force investigators probed the burned-out hulk of the 29-year-old Boeing 737 and the area around the air strip. Boeing spokesman Sean Griffin said the plane was put into service in 1970 and had logged 67,400 flight hours, although it was designed to last 20 years and fly 50,000 flight hours. He said Boeing investigators had been sent to the crash scene. "We don't know what the causes are yet," LAPA president and owner Andy Deutsch said in a television interview. The aircraft went to a Varig repair hangar in Porto Alegre, Brazil, for an overhaul on July 16, he added. The Air Force could not confirm survivors' reports that the flight was delayed because of checks on an engine. An Air Force spokesman said that "no hypothesis can be ventured" as to the cause of the crash. Two "black box" flight recorders were retrieved and the federal airport regulator promised to determine the cause within 48 hours. One of the boxes had the voices of the pilots during the flight's final moments, while the other contained technical information. Domestic flights were re-routed today to Buenos Aires' larger Ezeiza International Airport on the city's outskirts as investigators scoured the Newbery air strip for clues to the cause of the crash.
2 September 1999 – The crash of Argentine Boeing 737 (LU-WRZ) which killed at least 70 people in Buenos Aires has drawn accusations from maintenance workers that private airline LAPA cut corners on safety to save money on its cheap flights. Lineas Aereas Privadas Argentinas, the privately owned LAPA, which recently began offering flights to Atlanta, Georgia, said today it would not immediately comment on the allegations made by the Association of Aeronautical Technical Personnel (APTA), a trade union. APTA chief Ricardo Cirielli said he had reported LAPA safety breaches to the Government last year to little effect. Cirielli alleged that LAPA only employed six technicians per aircraft – compared to 17-26 per aircraft in other airlines. "They are dodging spending on maintenance," Cirielli said, adding that up to last year "in many cases instruments and controls were simply not repaired at all". Cirielli also criticised the Argentine Air Force, saying it was failing in its duty to ensure airlines met safety standards. In an advertisement in local papers, LAPA owner Andy Deutsch said the 29-year-old Boeing 737 was in perfect condition and had passed a major inspection in July. Deutsch, a pilot himself, said yesterday he thought birds might have been sucked into one of the jet engines. A Boeing spokesman said the aircraft was designed to last a minimum of 20 years but he noted that with proper maintenance commercial jets can easily exceed their design goals, as have hundreds of aircraft in service today.
4 September 1999 – Argentine airlines today defied threats of fines and suspended all domestic flights to and from Buenos Aires to force the government to re-open a city airport closed since a Boeing 737 (LU-WRZ) crashed, killing 71 people. The government's Transport Secretary, Armando Canosa, threatened the airlines with severe penalties. "At the start we are talking about fines. But if they keep up this attitude, we could get to the point of cancelling their permissions to operate," he said. Jorge Newbery airport in central Buenos Aires was closed by a court order on August 31 after an aircraft operated by Argentine airline LAPA with 103 people on board aborted take-off, skidded off a runway and across a highway before exploding on a riverside golf course. The airport, which is wedged next to the densely-populated Palermo neighbourhood, usually handles domestic flights within Argentina. These were transferred to the already overcrowded Ezeiza International Airport on the city outskirts. Airlines said Ezeiza could not cope and this morning suspended all domestic flights from the capital to force the authorities to reopen Jorge Newbery. Federal Judge Gustavo Literas said he would not be intimidated and would not allow Jorge Newbery to reopen until the Air Force had collected all wreckage from the crash. Fernando Dosso, president of the Airlines Association, said it was ridiculous to close a busy airport: "It's as if there was an accident on the Lugones freeway at the start of the week and they had closed it until all the court cases were over." Furious would-be passengers who had not heard about the decision to suspend flights and who showed up at Ezeiza milled about hopelessly or vented their frustrations on airline staff. Criticism of Jorge Newbery, described as "critically deficient" and risky by the Airline Pilots' Association, has been fierce since the crash. President Carlos Menem said he wanted the city-centre airport shut for good because its location in the middle of one of the world's most populous cities was "highly dangerous". The LAPA jet, which just missed two gasoline stations, dragged cars along in its wake as it crashed, killing ten people on the ground. Congress has said it will investigate the tragedy. LAPA which has just begun flying to the US city of Atlanta, rejected accusations that it had cut corners on maintenance.
5 September 1999 – An airport in the Argentine capital was cleared to resume operations today, five days after being closed because of a Boeing 737 (LV-WRZ) crash in which 72 people were killed. Jorge Newbery airport in central Buenos Aires was closed by court order on Tuesday (August 31) after a 29-year old aircraft operated by private Argentine airline LAPA crashed on take-off. Federal Judge Gustavo Literas authorised the airport to begin operating again early today after the Air Force said it had finished removing wreckage from the crash site. The first aircraft due to leave the re-opened Jorge Newbery was a LAPA flight headed for Ushuaia on the island of Tierra del Fuego 1,600 miles south of Buenos Aires. Literas said the two flight recorders containing cabin conversations and instrument data from the Boeing had been sent to the United States for study.
14 September 1999 – The pilots of an Argentine Boeing 737 (LV-WRZ) which crashed in Buenos Aires two weeks ago, killing 67 people, were slow to respond to a cockpit alarm that something was wrong, a black-box recording released by state investigators showed. The recording, released by the Argentine Air Force's Accident Board late yesterday, showed that the LAPA pilot and co-pilot listened to the alarm for 46 seconds before deciding to abort take-off. "What the hell is happening?" pilot Gustavo Weigel asked in a calm voice 11 seconds after the alarm went off. More than half a minute later, Weigel and co-pilot Luis Etcheverry began to abort take-off. By this time the 29-year-old aircraft, bound for Cordoba, was going too fast. It crashed through a perimeter fence at Jorge Newbery Airport and skidded across a highway before bursting into flames on a riverside golf course, killing 67 people. Both Weigel and Etcheverry died in the crash. Experts said the pilots should have aborted take-off immediately after the alarm went off. "An alarm went off when they were on the runway. At that moment, the pilot should have aborted take-off," said Guillermo Alais, former president of the Association of Air Line Pilots. A spokesman for LAPA said that it would wait for the final report before drawing conclusions as to what caused the crash. LAPA mainly flies within Argentina but recently started a route between Buenos Aires and Atlanta in the United States.
2 September 1999 – Mount Meru, Tanzania
All ten US tourists on board a Cessna 404 died when it smashed into a mountain near a Tanzanian game park, rescue officials said today. "They are still looking around the site, but there is no hope of finding survivors," an official said. He said they had found ten identifiable bodies and the scattered remains of two other people. The aircraft belonging to Northern Air went down about 11.00 yesterday as it took the tourists from Serengeti national park to an airport near Mount Kilimanjaro. Rescuers who worked through the night to reach the crash site said the plane smashed into Mount Meru at 2,580 metres and appeared to have burst into flames. "They found the plane wreckage at around 04.00 hrs," said Margaret Muyangi, head of Tanzania's Civil Aviation Authority. "It was very foggy and difficult to work out there." Yesterday, a US embassy spokesman in Nairobi confirmed that ten Americans, six men and four women, were on board the aircraft along with a Tanzanian tour guide and a pilot whose nationality he did not know. The spokesman said the tourists, three couples and a group of four, came from Florida, Massachusetts, Connecticut, California and New Jersey. Seven other American tourists from the same group but on a different plane arrived safely at Kilimanjaro Airport. They had been on a luxury tour organised by Abercrombie & Kent. In Washington, the State Department said it was notifying the families of the ten American tourists listed as passengers.
3 September 1999 – Rescue workers recovered the bodies of ten American tourists from a treacherous mountain in north Tanzania today, two days after their aircraft crashed in thick cloud during a safari vacation. The bodies were lifted off the mountain in nets carried underneath a helicopter as the terrain around the crash site was too hostile for vehicles to reach or for a helicopter to land. The Americans were to be flown to Nairobi late today before being taken home. Rescuers said they believed the plane crashed into Mount Meru at over 300 km per hour and that the pilot and all passengers, flying in thick cloud, had no idea they were about to hit trees. "It was a bad one. There were bits everywhere, up in the trees, scattered all over in the thick bushes," a rescue official said. US embassy spokesman Chris Scharf said the main challenge had been the terrain. "It is extremely steep, the crash was at 8,400 feet and it takes two hours to get there by foot from base camp. It is very forested and footing is very difficult."
5 September 1999 – Kathmandu, Nepal
A Necon Air passenger aircraft, crashed, today, near Kathmandu, airport officials said. The Press Trust of India news agency said the aircraft was bound for Kathmandu from Pokhara, 200km (125 miles) to the west. A rescue official said the British Aerospace Avro jet hit a telecommunications tower and crashed 17km (11 miles) south-west of Kathmandu. Airport officials said later that 15 people, including ten passengers and five crew, had been killed in the crash. Seven of the victims are Indian. They said nine bodies had been found near the wreckage of the aircraft, and there was no chance of any survivors.
All 15 people on board a Necon Air turboprop airliner were killed today when it hit a telecommunications tower and crashed on a hillside near Kathmandu, Nepalese rescue co-ordination officials said. They said the cockpit voice recorder of the British-designed HS-748 had been recovered at the crash site but the flight data recorder was still missing. A Necon Air statement said there were ten passengers, including a child, and five crew members on board the 44-seat, twin-engined aircraft. Seven of the passengers were Indian nationals. Police said rescue teams had found 12 bodies near the wreckage, about 17km south-west of the Nepalese capital. "The plane has broken into pieces. There is no chance of any survivors," one rescue official said. Rescue workers said the wreckage of the aircraft had scattered over the hillside. Another witness said: "It first lost one of its wings, then the tail part and [it] plunged into the steep forested hill some 2km away from the tower." Communication between Kathmandu and the western part of Nepal had been disrupted due to damage to the tower, a Nepal Telecommunications Corporation official said. The aircraft, which was on a scheduled flight from Pokhara 200km west of Kathmandu to the Nepalese capital, crashed at about 10.30, local time, (04.45, UTC).
9 September 1999 – Zurich, Switzerland
Swissair has filed a precautionary lawsuit against the companies that made, installed and certified the in-flight entertainment system on board its McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (HB-IWF) which crashed off Canada last year, the airline said today. While there was still no evidence that the system caused the crash which killed all 229 people on board, the filing upheld Swissair's right to sue that would have otherwise lapsed a year after the accident, it said in a statement. The complaints filed with the justice of the peace in the Swiss town of Kloten named Interactive Flight Technologies Inc., which supplied the system, Hollinsead International, which installed it, and Santa Barbara Aerospace, which certified it. "The complaints are a precautionary measure taken to ensure that the plaintiffs retain a right of recourse. This right would otherwise have lapsed one year after the accident," the airline said. The complaints were filed by Swissair and other units of the SAirGroup. In Philadelphia, attorney Lee Kreindler, who chairs a plaintiffs' committee in the United States, said families of crash victims had taken similar precautionary legal actions against the same three companies in California. A plaintiff's brief filed on Tuesday (September 7) in the US District Court in Philadelphia alleges the in-flight entertainment system, which allowed for interactive gambling, was "negligently and defectively" installed. Families of victims of the September 2, 1998, crash off Nova Scotia are seeking $16 billion in damages from SAirGroup and other defendants, including Interactive Flight Technologies. Investigators are checking whether the in-flight entertainment system was linked to the fire which broke out on board the aircraft, which crashed minutes after the crew reported smoke in the cockpit.
14 September 1999 – Washington, USA
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators are focusing on possible sparking from ageing wires as the cause of the 1996 TWA Flight 800 crash off Long Island that killed all 230 people on board. James Hall, chairman of the NTSB, told NBC's Today Show that testing of wiring bundles in 25 different planes has focused US aviation officials' attention on Boeing 747's electrical system as a possible cause of the accident. NTSB investigators have long suspected that fumes in the plane's centre fuel tank were ignited by some sort of electrical fault. Hall was speaking from Calverton, Long Island, where the reconstructed wreckage of TWA 800 was being moved to a smaller hangar today. Yesterday, USA Today reported that the private laboratory hired by the NTSB to test Poly-X wiring, the same type used in the destroyed TWA 747 aircraft, found that it sparked more than expected when bundles of it were wet-tested. For his part, NTSB chairman Hall refused to confirm those results during his NBC News interview, deferring any comment until the safety board's final report is released. That report is expected early next year.