Fuel Tank Ruptured After Denver Plane CrashJan 6, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Federal transportation officials investigating last month's Denver plane crash say a ruptured fuel tank was behind a spectacular fire that occurred after the Continental airlines flight careened off of the runway and Denver International Airport. According to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), after the fuel tank ruptured, fuel spilled onto an engine where it ignited once the jet stopped.
The Denver plane crash occurred at around 6:18 p.m. on December 28, when Continental flight 1404 to Houston was attempting to take off from Denver International Airport. The aircraft had traveled about one third of the length of the runway when it veered to the left and skidded into a ravine. At least 37 people were hurt in the crash.
The aircraft broke apart upon impact and burst into flames. The plane’s left engine was ripped away along with all the landing gear, the Associated Press said. According to airport officials, the runway was free of snow and dry at the time of the crash.
The plane’s data recorder revealed that the thrust-reversers - which are deployed to stop an aircraft on a runway - on both of the plane’s engines were activated. One of the pilots also can be heard on the recorder calling for an aborted takeoff, the investigator said.
At a briefing yesterday, Bill English, the NTSB's lead investigator on the crash, would not comment on any possible theories for the cause of the crash. However, he did say there was no indication of an engine failure at this point in the probe.
English said the NTSB is continuing its fact gathering, but said its on-scene investigation is over. A final report on the crash will likely take a year, but several interim "factual reports" without findings or conclusions could be released in six to nine months, English said.