Alex Constantine - September 28, 2006
The earliest Comair incident listed in this Kentucky Herald-Leader article occurred in 1979. SEVENTEEN YEARS passed before there was another. A couple of mishaps preceded 2001 - then a rash of incidents, culminating in the August 27, 2006 crash in Lexington.
Comair crashes and incidents
Recent fatal commuter jet crashes and other incidents in the United States involving Comair:
August 2006: Comair Flight 5191 crashed on takeoff from Lexington's Blue Grass Airport. It had been bound for Atlanta.
June 2006: Comair Flight 5867, carrying 63 passengers and four crew bound from Fort Myers to Cincinnati, returned to Fort Myers and made an emergency landing, taxiing to the gate under its own power. The crew cited mechanical problems related to the rudder.
December 2004: Comair's crew-scheduling computer failed late Christmas Eve, keeping the company from tracking its pilots and flight attendants to determine whether they had enough rest to legally fly. Company executives canceled all flights one day and most on the next.
May 2003: Comair flight attendant Turhan Jamar Lamons, 23, of Morrow, Ga., was accused of trying to crash a Comair flight as well as threatening a flight at AirTran, where he previously worked, a week after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Lamons was later sentenced to more than 22 years in prison after being convicted of damaging an aircraft with fire and other charges.
March 2001: Pilot error caused Comair Flight 5054 to plummet 8,000 feet in 24 seconds before the crew regained control and avoided crashing into the Atlantic. The flight was en route from Nassau, Bahamas, to Orlando, Fla. None of the 25 passengers and three crew members was seriously injured, but the pilots made an emergency landing in West Palm Beach, Fla.
January 1997: Comair Flight 3272 en route to Detroit from Cincinnati plunged into a snow-covered field as it approached Detroit Metro Airport, killing 26 passengers and three crew members when it exploded. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the cause of the crash to be icing on the , and it cited failures by the FAA and airline to set adequate standards for monitoring icing, and the decision by the Comair crew to fly in minimally safe conditions.
June 1996: Comair Flight 3599 from Nassau, Bahamas, came sliding to a stop at Orlando International Airport amid a shower of sparks. No one among the 29 passengers and three crew members was injured. Firefighters doused the plane with flame-retardant foam.
October 1979: A Comair flight from Covington, Ky., to Nashville crashed in Covington, killing all eight aboard. The NTSB determined that the plane crashed because of engine failure and cited the pilot's failure to follow approved procedures.
TURHAN JAMAR LAMONS
JULY: ROME, GEORGIA
Turhan Jamar Lamons, 23, a ComAir flight attendant, was arrested on charges of setting a fire in the airplane lavatory aboard a flight from Atlanta to Huntsville on May 8. The airplane was forced to make an emergency landing in Rome, Georgia.
A ComAir flight attendant was arrested on charges of starting an airplane lavatory fire that forced an emergency landing on 8 May. Intriguingly, the defendant, Turhan Jamar Lamons, has also been charged with making a bomb threat against an AirTran flight one week after 9/11. Back then he worked for AirTran.
Too much security consists of reactions afterward. It's comforting to hear Comair has reverified background checks on all 5,500 employees. A month before Lamons tried to set that Comair plane on fire, he was indicted in Georgia on charges that as an AirTran worker, on Sept. 18, 2001, he phoned in an anonymous threat to an Atlanta gate agent that "all passengers on flight 278 are going to die." His alleged motive: He didn't want to work on his day off.
THE FAYETTE CITIZEN
Sun., October 7, 2001
"Turhan Jamar Lamons, 21, for forgery in the first degree."
NOTE: A routine background check by Comair would have turned up the arrest. Was this his first? He had just phoned in a death threat to a gate agent in Atlanta, and would soon be working for Comair, starting a fire - why wasn't he behind bars? Did he make a deal for release?