Canada jet 'overran landing spot'

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4130316.stm
Investigators looking into last week's Air France jet crash at Toronto airport say the plane landed too far down the runway to ever be able to stop in time.

The crash occurred during a rainstorm and the runway was slick with water.

Given that and what he described as the "poor" braking action, investigator Real Levasseur said he was convinced the plane could not have stopped.

The Airbus A340 and fell into a ravine and burst into flames, but all of its 309 passengers and crew escaped.

Impossible conditions

"I am pretty convinced that there was no way that the aircraft was going to be able to stop before the end with the runway condition that we had, the water on the runway, and the braking action which was poor," Mr Levasseur, who is leading the Canadian Transportation Safety Board investigation, said.




"My preliminary estimate is that there was no way this airplane could have stopped before the end" he insisted.




The plane touched down 1,219 metres (4,000 feet) along the runway, leaving a distance of just 1,524m to bring it to a halt, Mr Levasseur said.

Although he added that in normal conditions, with all the landing equipment such as reverse thrusters, wing spoilers and brakes working properly, a plane of that size could have stopped in time.

Mr Levasseur said his team are looking to establish why the plane landed too far down the runway in the first place.

The co-pilot was flying the plane at the time, and both he and the pilot have been interviewed.

Emergency slide fault

Mr Levasseur's team are also investigating why only four of the eight exits were used after a fire broke out onboard, forcing some to jump out of the plane.

Two of the emergency slides failed to operate, even though they are supposed to unfold automatically when an exit door is opened, providing a means of escape for passengers.

But many of those on the plane said they had struggled to escape from the burning craft as some of the slides and exits were not working properly.

Nonetheless the 12 crew members have been praised for getting all of the passengers off the plane within 90 seconds, just minutes before the craft burst into flames.

Mr Levasseur said experts were at the crash site examining whether the slides and doors were damaged ahead of the crash or during the impact.

The plane from Paris landed in a storm at Toronto's Pearson International Airport at 1603 local time (2003 GMT) on Tuesday.

After touching down on the runway, it lurched across the wet tarmac before skidding towards the airport perimeter.
 
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