They Went the Wrong Way

A tragedy occurred today near Lexington, Kentucky. A jet carrying 50 people crashed after attempting to take off from a runway that was too short. The costly mistake killed 49 of the 50 onboard.

The plane, Comair Flight 5191, a CRJ-200 regional jet with 47 passengers and three crew members, crashed at 6:07 a.m. Sunday after taking off for Atlanta, said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The plane was largely intact afterward, but there was a fire following the impact, police said.

A little after 6 a.m., flight controllers gave the pilots clearance to take off from runway 22 and the pilots acknowledged the controllers with a “roger,” Orr reports. However, it appears the pilots took off from runway 26, which is only half the size of the 7,000 foot runway 22.

Sources tell Orr the radar tape and debris from the crash site suggest the plane never got airborne, that instead it went off the end of the runway and through a retaining area before settling into the crash site where it seems a significant post-crash fire erupted.

Orr adds that two flights took off from the correct runway (22) just prior to the Comair flight’s departure.

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