Comair Flight 5191 Crash
The National Transportation Safety Board said the evidence so far shows that the Comair jet that crashed on takeoff in Kentucky Sunday morning took off from the wrong runway.
A spokeswoman for the agency told reporters this evening that readings from the flight recorders and ground scars at the end of the runway flight show the jet took off on Runway 26.
That's the shorter runway at the Lexington airport. Authorities have said that runway is not long enough to handle fully loaded planes like the Comair flight.
The 3,500-foot-long strip, unlit and barely half the length of the airport's main runway, is not intended for commercial flights. The twin-engine CRJ-100 would have needed 5,000 feet to fully get off the ground, aviation experts said.
It wasn't immediately clear how the plane ended up on the shorter runway in the predawn darkness. There was a light rain Sunday, and the strip veers off at a V from the main runway, which had just been repaved last week.
"We will be looking into performance data, we will be looking at the weight of the aircraft, we will be looking at speeds, we will pull all that information off," Hersman said.
The Atlanta-bound plane plowed through a perimeter fence and crashed in a field less than mile from the end of that runway at about 6:07 a.m. Aerial images of the crash site in the rolling hills of Kentucky's horse country showed trees damaged at the end of the short runway and the nose of the plane almost parallel to the small strip.