Unfortunately, over the weekend a disastrous event happened in the United States. A Prime Air Boeing 767 crashed in Trinity Bay.
Atlas Air, the airline operating Flight 3591, has confirmed that three people were onboard the aircraft at the moment of the accident. The company has also confirmed that none of the crew onboard the aircraft survived the accident.
The cargo Boeing 767 was en-route Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport from Miami International Airport.
The Boeing 767 registered as N1217A, started flight operations 27 years ago. The now-bankrupt Canadian Airlines initially ordered the aircraft from Boeing, but never took up the order. GPA, an aircraft leasing company took over the order and then leased it to China Southern Airlines. The Boeing 767 changed hands a few times throughout its history, but it mainly served with LAN Airlines (currently LATAM Airlines).
Three years ago, Atlas Air re-registered the aircraft and converted it to a cargo plane. As of 2017, Amazon Prime Air took over the branding of the aircraft. However, Atlas Air still operated till it crashed while on its way to Houston. It crashed 30 miles from the airport.
While NTSB investigators are still looking for the aircraft’s Black Boxes, people are discussing multiple reasons for the crash. One of the main versions is bad weather is at fault for the deadly accident.
Flightradar24 data shows a very rapid descent. At 12:37 PM, Flight 3591 was at 8,675 feet (2.6 kilometers in the air). The crew of the Boeing 767 began a normal landing procedure and at 12:38 PM the aircraft lowered its altitude to 5,850 feet (1.7 kilometers). Suddenly, at 12:39 PM the Prime Air aircraft lost over 4,000 (1.2 kilometers) feet of altitude and data shows the last ping-back from the aircraft at 1,325 feet (403 meters). It is reported that the aircraft crashed at about 12:45 PM local time.
The prime suspect is a microburst. A phenomenon where a very intense burst of winds hits the ground and subsequently, the wind then proceeds to spread in all directions upwards. This can cause wind shear. Usually, aircraft are the most vulnerable to microbursts when they are landing as microbursts produce wind shear. Because of the danger that these anomalies possess an aircraft, pilots dedicate a lot of time to train on how to handle these situations.
Another reason for the crash might be a mechanical failure like the instrument cluster failing or showcasing incorrect data.
However, nothing conclusive still can be said why the Prime Air Flight 3591 crashed.Flight path of the Atlas Air Boeing 767. Source: Flightradar24
As soon as the authorities reported the crash, both the airline operating the flight and the manufacturer have come out and released statements that they would help NTSB to determine the reason for the crash.
Atlas Air has said that it “ is cooperating fully with the FAA and NTSB. We will update as additional information becomes available.”
Meanwhile, Boeing released the following statement: “Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the crew on board Atlas Air Flight 3591, a 767 cargo airplane that crashed near Anahuac, Texas, on February 23. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the crew and stand ready to support the Atlas Air team. Boeing has launched a team to provide technical assistance to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board as the agency conducts its investigation.”
Additionally, Atlas Air is also working with the victims‘ families. The airline opened up a Family Assistance Center that will look after the families and take care of them.
Local authorities have already reported that the recovery efforts will be difficult. Nevertheless, they already recovered two of the bodies of the deceased flight crew.
However, Trinity Bay is a marshy area with shallow waters. Thus, the search for the black boxes of the Prime Air Boeing 767 is going to be a very tough process.Luckily, according to AeroTime, the NTSB has recovered the black boxes from the Boeing 767. This will significantly quicken the investigation into why the cargo freighter has crashed just outside Houston.
A local sheriff has also stated that “the problem everybody is going to have in this recovery process is that the water goes from about 5 feet (1.5 meters) to 0. That 0 feet deep is nothing but marsh. It (the area) is best known for its duck hunting, so it is not going to be an easy recovery task for us to do.”
Before Atlas Air confirmed that all three crew members onboard have unfortunately passed away because of the crash, Brian C. Hawthorne, the sheriff noted: "Who knows what's under the water that we can't see, but it looks like total devastation from the aircraft part. Knowing what I saw, I don't believe anybody could survive it ”
Various pictures showcase the wide area where the debris is scattered around Trinity Bay.Debris of the Atlas Air Flight 3591 Crash More Debris of the Boeing 767 involved in the crash
Sadly, the Atlas Air crash is not the first one to take away lives in 2019. So far, 4 deadly accidents have happened in 2019. Cargo flights have been involved in 2 accidents, including this one.
Another famous incident occurred last month, where a Piper PA-46 Malibu crashed into the English Channel. The single-engine light aircraft was carrying the newly introduced signing of Cardiff City, footballer Emiliano Sala. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch, with the help of the NTSB and Argentine and French aviation agencies, is investigating the crash. So far, the AAIB has given no conclusive reason why the Piper crashed. However, the pilot did not have a commercial pilot’s license at the time, meaning he could not carry passengers.Nevertheless, the safety of the aviation industry in the United States in the past decade is staggering. This is the safest era in the history of commercial aviation in the country, with only one passenger fatality during the last 10 years on a Southwest flight. A lot of that can be attributed to the families that fought for changes after Flight 3407 crashed in Buffalo, New York in 2009. On the other hand, cargo airlines have struggled. 5 fatal crashes have left 16 people dead since 2009, including the Prime Air crash.