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03 June 2008

TACA Has First Fatal Jet Airliner Event

A TACA Airbus A320-200 crashed in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on 30 May 2008, killing the captain, two passengers, and two people outside of the aircraft. The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from San Salvador to Tegucigalpa. The aircraft touched down on the runway on its second landing attempt, but after landing it departed the runway, went beyond the airport perimeter, and struck several vehicles on a nearby road.

There were 124 passengers and five crew members on board the aircraft. In addition to the three onboard fatalities, about 65 other passengers were injured.

The fuselage was broken in several locations with one of the engines was separated from the wings. Although there was a fuel spill and a post crash fire, most of the aircraft was not damaged by that fire.

At the time of the accident, the runway was wet from the passage of tropical storm Alma earlier in the day.

This was the first fatal jet airliner event involving TACA. Prior to this fatal event, the airline had two significant events involving its jet fleet.

On 24 May 1988, a TACA 737 flying to New Orleans lost power to both engines due to water ingestion from a storm. The crew was able to glide safely to a landing on a levee next to a waterway.

On 6 April 1993, a TACA 767 overran the runway during a landing in Guatemala City, and crashed into a nearby neighborhood. Although three people in the neighborhood were injured, no one was on the ground or in the plane was killed.

The crash in Tegucigalpa was the eighth fatal event involving the A320, with the first occurring in 1988 and the previous one, involving the Brazilian airline TAM, in July 2007.

The civil aviation authorities of Honduras are leading the investigation, with support from TACA, Airbus, the engine manufacturer, the NTSB, FAA, and civil aviation authorities from France and El Salvador.

Because of the crash, and because of ongoing concerns about the main airport in Tegucigalpa, that airport was immediately closed to all aircraft, and even after the airport is reopened, large jet airliners will not be allowed at the airport.

Commercial jets are now operating through the city of San Pedro Sula, and later this year the Honduran government plans to allow larger jets to land in Soto Cano Air Base (formerly known as the Pamerola Air Base).

Updates or findings from the investigation will be posted on as they become available.

If you would like more details about this podcast and about the fear of flying, please use the links below:

Podcast from the Day of the Accident (MP3)

Podcast Transcript

Fatal and Significant TACA Events

Fatal Airbus A320 Events

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