Toronto: An Air Canada passenger plane landed so significantly short of the runway in Halifax that it hit a power line and knocked out power at the airport, the lead investigator said today.
The Airbus 320 landed 1,100 feet (335 meters) short of the runway during an early Sunday morning snowstorm. It crashed into a bank of antennas and sheared off its main landing gear, nose cone and an engine before skidding on its belly.
Twenty-five people were taken to the hospital and all but one has been released.
Mike Cunningham, regional manager for Canada's Transportation Safety Board, said investigators are still trying to determine why Flight AC624 from Toronto landed prematurely.
Cunningham said they interviewed the pilots Sunday night but that he is prohibited from commenting about what they said. The cockpit voice recorder and flight data are being downloaded today.
The airport terminal building went black as the plane hit a power line outside several hundred feet outside the airport. "That's pretty unique. The power line itself is well beyond the obstacle clearance criteria from that runway and that aircraft touched down significantly short of the runway," Cunningham said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
A power generator on the airfield kicked in so the lighting there was not affected but two generators failed in the terminal building. The power outage meant an emergency response center had to be moved to a nearby hotel. Nova Scotia Power later restored power, and police said a power line south of the runway outside airport property was damaged.