Airline Blames Wind Shear for Crash

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Although the airline involved in the fatal crash of a Dutch charter here is blaming wind shear for the accident, a Portuguese air official said Wednesday that it is premature to affix blame until investigators complete an inquiry.

At least 54 of the 340 people on board were killed when the Martinair DC-10 broke apart and burst into flames as it tried to land Monday.

The president of the airline, Martin Schroeder, told reporters in Amsterdam on Tuesday that a sudden downdraft threw the plane out of control when it was about 150 feet off the ground.

But Faro’s assistant airport director, Francisco Severino, told the Associated Press: “That is far from being determined yet. It is the investigation commission that has to make that decision.”


Officials did not expect to conclude their preliminary inquiry in less than a month.

The cause of another plane crash, this one in Libya, is still unknown. On Wednesday, that country prepared for a mass funeral and began observing three days of national mourning for the 157 people who died in the crash Tuesday.

The Boeing 727, carrying 150 passengers and seven crew members from the Mediterranean port of Benghazi, went down about 30 miles from the capital, Tripoli.