Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Was this plane crash a part of Terrorism ?


By ROB GILLIES and BETH DUFF-BROWN, Associated Press Writers 51 minutes ago

TORONTO - Investigators said Wednesday that a heavy rainstorm accompanied by lightning and strong winds was a factor that caused an Air France jet to skid off a Toronto runway and burst into flames, prompting 309 passengers and crew to slide down escape chutes.


The black boxes of Flight 358 from Paris will be retrieved Wednesday, investigators said. The plane skidded off the runway at Lester B. Pearson International Airport after landing at about 4 p.m. Tuesday in a pounding storm.

The airport was under a "red alert," which indicates potential for lightning but does not prevent planes from landing or taking off, officials said.

Brian Lackey, vice president of operations for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, said the Airbus A340 had enough fuel to divert to Montreal or another airport where the weather was better, but "that's the pilot's decision."

"It was definitely an extreme storm, something we haven't seen in a long time," Lackey said. "We're very, very grateful that the situation turned out as well as it did."

Air France said 22 people were injured, while Toronto airport officials said 43 were hurt. The wreckage of the jetliner smoldered Wednesday near a busy highway in what a Paris newspaper called "The miracle of the Air France Airbus."


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