Fourteen people died today in a plane crash near Tegucigalpa. This happened in the municipality of Santa Ana, to a kilometer of the village of Las Mesitas, in the highway that goes to the south of Honduras. Shortly before nine in the morning the airship was given for loss, the last location detected by the radar was the vicinity of Cerro de Hula.
At first it was reported that Cesar Ham, minister of the Agrarian National Institute, and Mario Canahuati, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, went in that airplane, but those versions were discredited. The two public figures had plans to take that airplane, but for different reasons they didn’t do it. Mario Canahuati said he could not take the plane because it was packed when he got there, so he took another airship; and Cesar Ham said he could not take the airplane because some matters delayed him, making him arrive late.
Among the dead people was the union leader, Israel Salinas and the vice minister of Soptravi, Rodolfo Rovelo. Some recognized businessmen also passed away and three citizens of American origin.
The airplane, a Let 410, twin turboprop of Czech origin, utilized in routes of short connection, belonged to the Central American Airways airline.
“We were given green light to fly to Tegucigalpa, the pilot was experienced, he used to fly in these conditions”, said Gustavo Castañeda, manager of Central American Airways.
The CEO of Civil Aeronatics, Manuel Enríquez Cáceres, believes the accident was caused by human error. “We could say that 95 percent of these accidents are human errors and a small amount is due to weather factors, and also to the airship”, he explained.
For his part, colonel Roberto Mendoza Garay thinks the accident was due to scarce visibility. “The investigation will probably say that once they did the instrumental descent toward Tegucigalpa, the pilots decided to change from an instrumental approximation to a visual one”, he said.
The airplane did not possess a black box, which will complicate the investigation.
List of the deceased
- Jhon Peter
- James Howel
- Tom Chuck Slynn
- Joaquín Fernández
- Leda Cabrera
- Julio Alvarenga
- Israel Salinas (Union leader)
- Carlos Chain (Businessman)
- Alejandra Figueroa Cerna (Praf Official)
- Rodolfo Rovelo (Viceminister of Soptravi)
- Sara Villacorta
- Captain Oscar Anderson
- Captain Eduardo Fach
Rep. Marvin Ponce, of the Zelayista Democratic Unification Party, tried to use the tragedy for political means: “We believe it is time to think of a high-level political decision, the Tegucigalpa airport must take another destination.” An accident near the Toncontin airport on May 30, 2008 was used by former President Zelaya as an excuse to close the Toncontin airport, with the goal of evicting the U.S. military occupying the Palmerola military base in Comayagua. Subsequent investigation revealed the cause of that accident was human error.