As Greek Crash Report Released, A 737 Down In Peru

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A Boeing 737-200 operated by TANS, a Peruvian airline, made an emergency landing -- in a marsh -- on Tuesday night, during a fierce storm with strong winds, torrential rain and hail. The flight was only about a mile from its destination airport, in a remote jungle area 500 miles northeast of Lima. The aircraft, with 92 passengers and 8 crew on board, split in two on impact and burned. At least 41 died. Meanwhile, a preliminary report released Monday about the Helios Airways 737-300 that crashed in Greece Aug. 14 shows that authorities have retrieved data from the damaged cockpit voice recorder. A man believed to be 25-year-old flight attendant and student pilot Andreas Prodromou sat in the captain's seat for the last 10 minutes of the flight and twice tried to issue a mayday, but the radios apparently were not on the right frequency and nobody heard him. "The tone of his voice suggested the person was a man who was suffering or was exhausted," the report said. The second mayday call came just two seconds before the crash. "Indications of technical problems in the pressurization system" were found, according to the report, which blamed a sudden loss of cabin pressure and oxygen starvation for disabling the crew. The final cause of the crash was fuel exhaustion and engine failure. A former chief mechanic at Helios has said that the same aircraft lost cabin pressure during a December flight when a door apparently was not sealed properly.

The Peru crash was the fifth major airline incident this month. Besides the Greek crash, 152 people died when a chartered MD-82 went down in Venezuela, 16 were killed when an ATR-72 ditched off Sicily, and in Toronto, an Air France Airbus A340 overshot the runway, with no fatalities.