Alex Constantine - September 25, 2006
Comair Crash: Cockpit Tapes Still Not Released!!! As usual, when there is an air crash, the lid immediately goes on everything. The crash site and the families of the victims are carefully kept away from the press. The NTSB said they were going to release the cockpit tape "transcript," but they haven't. Everything is done to keep the public from knowing what happened until hopefully the press goes away. In the case of the Comair crash, this seems to have happened very quickly.
Quote of the Week:
"The government and the controllers union refuse even to
release the list of the 19 controllers who work at the Lexington airport."
from story this week on the secrecy surrounding the Comair crash in Kentucky which killed 49 people."
The "Toledo" Mystery
The last Comair crash took place near Toledo, Ohio. This and an apparent bit of disinformation from the NTSB aggravates a lingering question, ...
NTSB Now Says Comair Pilot Did Not Say "Toledo"
A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman said Friday that famlies of the victims of Comair Flight 5191 were erroneously told that one of the pilots called out the wrong flight number and city before the crash in Lexington last week, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader website.
According to www.kentucky.com, NTSB spokesman Terry Williams apologized to families who were given incorrect information at NTSB briefings after the Aug. 27 crash, which killed 49.
Victims' families were erroneously told that while talking to the control tower before the fatal crash, one of the pilots called out the wrong flight number and city, saying "Toledo," according to Williams.
"I do not know where Toledo came from," Williams said, "It was a mistake" made by the NTSB. "But I do apologize for the error."
The commuter jet was bound for Atlanta when it crashed August 27 as it tried to take off from the wrong runway at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport. The pilots also initially boarded the wrong plane.
Kyra Frederick's husband, Bart Frederick of Danville, was one of the passengers who died. She says there were a series of mistakes that were the beginning of a bad flight.
The crash killed 49 of the 50 people aboard.
Frederick and Charlie Scales attended NTSB briefings last week in Lexington and said they learned of the apparent "Toledo" mistake then. Scales' brother-in-law, Gregory Threet of Lexington, also died aboard Flight 5191.
Sep. 08, 2006
Investigation reveals pilots did not misidentify flight before crash
By Valarie Honeycutt Spears
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A closer examination of an air traffic control tower tape shows that neither pilot on Comair Flight 5191 gave the wrong flight number or mentioned Toledo, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday.
NTSB spokesman Terry Williams apologized to families who were given that incorrect information at NTSB briefings after the Aug. 27 crash.
Williams said families were erroneously told that while talking to the control tower before the fatal crash, one of the pilots called out the wrong flight number and city, saying "Toledo."
"It was a mistake" made by the NTSB, Williams said. "But I do apologize for the error."
He said he did not know from where the Toledo information came.
Williams said NTSB officials realized they had given families wrong information after more closely examining the tape. Williams said families were told at the briefings that the information they were being given was preliminary.
Williams said he knew of no other incorrect information that was given to the families of the 49 people who died on Aug. 27 when Comair Flight 5191 crashed shortly after takeoff from the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport. In addition to taking off from the wrong runway, the pilots briefly boarded the wrong plane, NTSB officials have said.
Williams said that NTSB officials would notify families of the error about the flight number and city and would continue to update families about the investigation.
Charlie Scales, brother-in-law of Flight 5191 passenger Gregory Threet and Kyra Frederick, wife of passenger Bart Frederick, told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Thursday that they were told at briefings that one of the pilots gave the control tower the wrong flight number and referred to the city of Toledo.
Scales said Friday that he was not "terribly concerned" about being given incorrect information.
"It was within the first few days after the crash," he said. "They've told us that the final report might not come for 10 to 14 months."
Meanwhile, Comair officials said Friday that there was no connection between the Aug. 27 crash of Comair Flight 5191 and the cancellation of a flight from Lexington to Atlanta the night before.
Two different airplanes were involved in the unrelated incidents, said Comair spokeswoman Kate Marx.
The flight - scheduled to depart at 5:55 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26 - was cancelled because of mechanical problems. The airplane belonged to Chautauqua Airlines, not Comair, Marx said.
In an interview Thursday, Kyra Frederick said her husband had been scheduled to fly from Lexington to Atlanta the night before the crash, but that flight had been canceled.
Frederick said she and other passengers had not been able to find out why the flight was canceled or whether that aircraft was the same one that crashed the next day.
Marx said Comair officials would be contacting Frederick to assure her the two flights were unrelated.
THE COMAIR FAMILIES *HEARD* "TOLEDO"
Pilots in Comair crash gave wrong city
Sep 9, 2006, 19:00 GMT
LEXINGTON, KY, United States (UPI) -- Relatives of the passengers on a plane that crashed in Kentucky say one of the pilots made a mysterious reference to Toledo just before takeoff.
The pilot also gave the wrong flight number, the relatives told the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The Comair commuter jet crashed Aug. 27 just after taking off from Blue Grass Airport for Atlanta, killing 49 people. Only the first officer survived but remains in critical condition.
The pilot and first officer arrived at the airport just after 5 a.m. for the 6 a.m. flight. They first got on the wrong plane and then took off from the wrong runway.
Family members HEARD the Toledo mistake when recordings of the pilots` final conversations with each other and air traffic control at a National Transportation Safety Board meeting last week. They said the error was corrected quickly.
'It was a series of mistakes,' said Kyra Frederick, whose husband, Bart, died in the crash. 'That was all the beginning of a bad flight.'
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
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Posted on Fri, Sep. 08, 2006
Pilot's mention of 'Toledo' a mysteryReference before crash unexplained
By Valarie Honeycutt Spears
HERALD-LEADER STAFF WRITER
In addition to departing from the wrong runway and initially getting on the wrong plane, one of the pilots on Comair Flight 5191 to Atlanta might have made a third mistake:
In talking to the control tower before the fatal crash, one of the pilots called out the wrong flight number and city, saying "Toledo," according to two victims' relatives who attended briefings by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Charlie Scales, the brother-in-law of Flight 5191 passenger Gregory Threet of Lexington, and Kyra Frederick, wife of passenger Bart Frederick of Danville, said they learned of the apparent mistake last week in NTSB briefings in Lexington.
Forty-nine people died Aug. 27 when Flight 5191 crashed after attempting to take off from the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport.
Scales, who lives in Ohio, said NTSB officials told families that the "Toledo" error occurred when the pilots were "initiating takeoff."
Scales said NTSB officials did not identify which pilot misspoke.
Frederick said families were told in a briefing that the pilot quickly corrected the "Toledo" mistake and gave the correct flight number. Frederick said she was unclear whether the pilot was misidentifying Lexington or the plane's destination city, Atlanta.
"It was a series of mistakes," she said. "That was all the beginning of a bad flight."
Capt. Jeffrey Clay, who guided the plane onto the runway, died in the crash. The lone survivor, first officer James Polehinke, who was at the controls when the flight took off, remains in serious condition at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.
NTSB officials did not return two telephone calls yesterday.
Michael Gobb, executive director of Blue Grass Airport, said he could not comment on whether the pilots mistakenly referred to Toledo. He referred the question to the NTSB.
It is not clear whether either pilot had a connection to Toledo, a city in northwest Ohio. NTSB officials said earlier that Polehinke had flown from New York City to Lexington more than 24 hours before Flight 5191 was scheduled to depart.
Clay arrived in Lexington on the afternoon before the crash. In an earlier interview, Clay's wife, Amy, said she did not know what city he was in before he boarded a flight for Lexington.
What is known is that Clay and Polehinke checked in at the airport at 5:15 a.m. Aug. 27 to begin preparing for the scheduled 6 a.m. flight to Atlanta. They picked up paperwork, boarded a plane and turned on the auxiliary power unit to begin pre-flight checks.
But it was the wrong plane. A ramp worker saw their mistake and told the pilots, who got on the correct plane.
Kyra Frederick said she has at least one other key question about the crash that hasn't been answered to her satisfaction. She said her husband had been scheduled to fly from Lexington to Atlanta the night before the crash, but that flight was canceled.
She said she has not been able to find out why the flight was canceled, or whether that aircraft was the same one that crashed the next day.
Jennifer Spalding, spokeswoman for Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky., said the representative had a 30-minute briefing in his office yesterday from NTSB officials. But the officials revealed nothing new about the crash, she said, and nothing about what the families say they were told.
"We heard nothing about Toledo or a wrong flight number," Spalding said. "I guess we didn't ask questions about that, but they didn't volunteer it."
After the briefing, Chandler released a statement that said:
"I remain convinced that it is premature to speculate upon any cause of this accident. While some facts are clear, such as the departure from the incorrect runway, what remains to be done is the analysis of those and other facts."
"It is imperative that the NTSB be allowed to complete their investigation so they can help us understand what caused this accident," Chandler said.
Also yesterday, more post-crash details emerged from an audio recording of radio traffic between Lexington police and dispatchers in the first hour after the accident.
Officers realized the seriousness of James Polehinke's injuries right away, the recording shows.
"I just pulled the pilot out of the front," police Officer Bryan Jared radioed to the dispatcher. "He's seriously injured. Serious facial injuries. I need somebody up here."
The dispatcher then tells Jared that police have notified the fire department, as well as "all local hospitals."
Several minutes later, Jared tells a dispatcher that he is on his way to the University of Kentucky Hospital with Polehinke. "Please have them meet us out front," Jared said. "It's critical here."
About 30 police officers responded to the scene within minutes after the dispatcher first reported a "possible plane crash."
"We've got a lot of smoke out here," one officer said as he approached the scene and began searching a private farm for the downed plane.
After finding the crash site, another officer informed others that it was difficult to reach. "Literally, you're going to have to four-wheel through the field to get to it," the officer told the dispatcher.
As officers began arriving, at first they thought they might be dealing with more than one survivor.
One officer urgently told the dispatcher: "We've got numerous injured subjects." At one point all officers were ordered to put "their reflective vests on to make them more visible to firefighters and potential survivors."
Some officers were ordered to set up a triage area in the grass, and some were directed to the airport terminal to help the families of passengers. Others were directed to gather reporters who were starting to arrive at the crash scene.
Listen, later today, to recordings of the police dispatch traffic after Flight 5191 crashed.