I used to live right beside Pearson Int. I've driven by this ravine beside the 401 thousands of times
Probably a microburst while it was still 10-20' off the ground...No air, no fly.
People on board felt it go down hard and think it blew out the undercarraige rubber. Same thing happened (ended up in the same ravine) to a DC9 about 15 years ago. I was about 30 miles north of the airport when this (today)happened. Nasty storm did go through but it was too bad where I was.
All passengers survive Toronto jet fire: airline
CTV.ca News Staff
As the flames aboard Air France Flight 358 were finally subdued Tuesday night at Toronto's Pearson Airport, the Transportation Safety Board prepared to launch its investigation into why the large passenger jet skidded off a runway, crashing into a ravine.
"Our job is to find out what happened, why it happened, and to potentially make recommendations so it never happens again," Conrad Bellehumeur, of the Transport Safety Board, told CTV News.
Officials say all 309 people aboard the plane survived the ordeal, including 297 passengers and 12 crew members.
"According to our current information and the Air France chief there, there are no casualties," an Air France spokesperson said.
Steve Shaw, Vice-President of Corporate Affairs for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, also confirmed there are no known fatalities, but added that 43 people were taken to nearby hospitals for minor injuries.
According to some reports, a nine-month old baby was transported to Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.
All passengers have been processed through customs.
Sgt. Glyn Griffiths of Peel Regional Police said that some injured passengers -- including one of the co-pilots -- were seen walking a short distance from the wreckage, trying to flag down commuters on the nearby Highway 401 moments after the crash.
Witnesses describe traumatic crash
Witnesses said the plane had skidded off the runway after landing in a thunderstorm at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.
Passenger Olivier Dubos, speaking to CTV's Tom Clark, described a landing that suddenly went wrong.
"Everything was perfect. We started our descent," Dubos said. "Nobody was worried about anything, just a little bit of turbulence, which is the case for stormy weather. Then the plane, the minute before touching ground, the electricity, the lights, got cut off."
Dubos said that passengers could feel the plane land, and then skid off the runway. When they stopped, they could see flames and smoke just outside their windows.
"At that point we thought we would all die," Dubos said.
Other witnesses reported seeing bolts of lightning before the plane burst into flames. It's unclear whether lightning had struck the plane.
According to passenger Ahmed Alatava, the weather during landing made everyone nervous.
When it first appeared the landing was a success, Alatava said, a short-lived sigh of relief swept through the plane.
"When we come to land in the airport, everybody is clapping to the captain.... but after that we felt bump, bump, bump ... then through the window I saw fire."
Eventually, the Toronto resident said, the crew opened an emergency exit and he joined others leaping out to safety.
A miracle no one killed
Live television pictures showed smoke billowing from the aircraft in a wooded area just metres from Highway 401 -- Canada's busiest highway -- near the airport. A section of the plane's wing could be seen jutting from the trees.
David Jeanes, president of Transport 2000, said the crash could have been much worse if the plane had been at the start of its flight.
"Aviation fuel is very volatile," Jeanes told CTV News. "Fortunately it was a landing rather than a takeoff. Crashing on a takeoff, the explosion can be huge because of the large amount of fuel on the plane."
Transport Minister Jean Lapierre told CTV News that the lack of fatalities was "a miracle. There's no other word you can use."
Severe storms in the area at the time of the accident had grounded most operations at the airport.
Flight A358 left Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport at 1:32 local time and was due to arrive in Toronto at 4:12 p.m. ET. The airline's A340 planes are generally configured for 252 passenger seats.
Toronto's Pearson airport remains operational, but passengers are advised to check with their airlines before arriving.
[Edited by gruntly on 08-02-2005 at 10:18 PM]
Is this a Fabreze moment? C.Y.D. I'm voting white elephant. 2¢. My competition are my best salespeople!
Originally posted by bigbird I yust heard that there were no fatalities.
The plane was an Air France Flight.
If you controlled life and death, would you want 290 Frenchmen in Heaven? I didn't think so!
I'll betcha that the vote was seconded from somewhere south of Heaven too!