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Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Saturday, 31 May 2008 16:30 UK

Honduras crash forces diversions

Crash site at Tegucigalpa
The plane crashed off the runway onto a road, hitting cars

The international airport in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, is to be closed to larger aircraft, following a fatal crash which killed five people.

Large passenger jets are being transferred to a military airfield outside the city, the authorities said.

Dozens were hurt in Friday's accident, when an Airbus A320 overshot the wet runway and crashed onto a city road

Tegucigalpa's airport - a short runway surrounded by hills - is considered one of the most dangerous in the region.

The Miami-bound Taca airline Flight 390 was arriving from El Salvador, carrying 135 passengers and crew, when it crashed.

Officials say the plane was trying to land in heavy rain and fog.

The aircraft's Salvadoran captain, two passengers and two motorists were killed.

The dead passengers were Jeanne Chantal Neele, the wife of the Brazilian ambassador in Honduras, and Harry Brautigam, director of a regional development bank.

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Scene of the crash on Friday

Taca airline president Alfredo Schildknecht said the Airbus A320 had skidded off the runway after the pilot made a second attempt to land in heavy rain and fog.

"We know there was bad weather at the moment of the landing and the captain was not able to land in his first attempt," he told a news conference.

"He landed in the second attempt, apparently braking conditions were not optimum, the landing strip was wet and the plane [skidded] off at the end of the runway."

One survivor, Mario Castillo, described the crash on Honduran TV: "Suddenly we felt a big noise and we were all trying desperately to get out.

"The worst injured were the people in business class."

The flight, which originated in Los Angeles, left San Salvador at 1430 GMT on Friday.

It had been scheduled to stop briefly in Tegucigalpa and in San Pedro Sula before heading to Miami, Florida.


SEE ALSO
Fatal crash at Honduran airport
31 May 08 |  Americas

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