Comair is claiming that the FAA was at least partly responsible for the crash of one of its regional jets in Lexington, Ky., that killed 49 people, according to The Associated Press. In a suit filed on Friday, the airline claims that signs and lighting that would have led the pilots of the aircraft to the correct runway were missing because of a construction project. It claims that other aircraft had made the same mistake recently and had been redirected by air traffic controllers. And it also notes in its suit that the Lexington tower was manned by a single controller when it should have been staffed by a minimum of two. The controller on duty had his back turned to the runway, doing paperwork, when Flight 5191 lined up on a 3,500-foot general aviation runway instead of the 7,000-foot runway it should have been on.
The airliner smashed through a fence and was briefly airborne before hitting trees and burning in a field about a mile from the end of the short runway. Comair President Don Borhorst said the suit is aimed at spreading financial responsibility for the crash among all the parties it feels are responsible for it. He said the airline is committed to reaching a fair compensation package for the families of the victims. In addition to the FAA, the airline is suing the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport.