Safety Experts Cite Crosswinds In Denver Air Crash

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email
In this image taken from video released by KUSA-TV in Denver is shown a Continental Airlines Boeing 737 on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008 in Denver. Thirty-eight people suffered injuries including broken bones, and two were in critical condition with fractures after the plane crashed Saturday evening upon takeoff, according to officials. (AP Photo/KUSA-TV) ** NO SALES, MANDATORY CREDIT **

In this image taken from video released by KUSA-TV in Denver is shown a Continental Airlines Boeing 737 on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008 in Denver. Thirty-eight people suffered injuries including broken bones, and two were in critical condition with fractures after the plane crashed Saturday evening upon takeoff, according to officials. (AP Photo/KUSA-TV) ** NO SALES, MANDATORY CREDIT **

Washington (AP) Aviation safety experts say strong crosswinds likely were a factor in an accident last month that sent a Continental airlines jet into a bone-jarring veer off a Denver Runway and across open, snowy fields before it came to a halt and caught fire.

Several safety experts raised the possibility yesterday that the Boeing 737-500 airliner may have experienced “weather vaning,” where a strong crosswind pushes a plane’s tail and turns the Aircraft’s nose into the wind, much like it turns a weather vane.

Gusts of up to 37 mph were reported at Denver International Airport on the day of the accident, but experts say winds were probably not strong enough to explain the accident entirely. They say some other additional factor - either mechanical failure or human error also could have played a role.

Continental airlines flight 1404 was taking off for Houston on Dec. 20 when the accident happened. Thirty-eight people were injured.

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