Conolence Of Today
Google News 11/10/2006
4 killed in Norwegian airport plane fire
By DOUG MELLGREN
OSLO, Norway — A jet skidded off a runway built into a fjord in western Norway on Tuesday, killing four people on board and leaving chunks of aircraft smoldering on a lushly wooded hillside.
The British Aerospace 146-200 jet operated by Atlantic Airways of the Faeroe Islands and chartered by an engineering company was carrying 16 passengers and crew when it went off the landing strip at Stord Airport and burst into flames, officials said.
Thor Buberg, of the district police, said four victims had been found in or near the wreckage, including one originally believed rescued after initial confusion over the number rescued. Twelve others escaped without serious injury.
Investigators headed to the site to look for a cause of the crash. Witnesses said weather was clear. "The landing and weather conditions were fine. Everything seemed fine," said a Swedish pilot, Sven-Erik Stranberg, who had landed a craft of the same make only moments before the crash.
"Then another colleague came in and said there might be something wrong, because there was smoke from the end of the runway," he told Norway's NRK radio.
Photos from the scene showed a plume of black smoke rising from a tower of fire surrounded by forest on one side of the fjord, a coastal inlet bordered by steep cliffs or hillsides.
The airport's western runway, where the accident occurred, is built along and out into the waters of the fjord, police said. Rescuers called in fire crews, ambulances, helicopters and even ships and boats, in case any victims had ended up in the water. Victims and survivors were found on land.
Fritz Arne Lilleskog, also of the district police, said the fire was brought under control after about an hour, but that the heat from the wreckage had slowed efforts to search the plane.
"We don't know what happened. It was during descent and landing, but that is all we know," he said. Lilleskog said the aircraft was severely damaged, but that he had no reports of serious injuries to those rescued.
The plane was chartered by shipbuilding and construction firm Aker Stord, a subsidiary of engineering group Aker Kvaerner, the company said.
It was shuttling workers helping build a land-based terminal at Molde, farther up the Norwegian coast, for Norsk Hydro ASA offshore natural gas project Ormen Lange. But it was making a stopover on Stord, an island about 75 miles north of Stavanger, Aker Kvaerner said.