Friday, May 27, 2011

Five passengers hike to safety following crash at Sedona, Arizona

(Christopher Fox Graham - Larson Newspapers)

A JetSuite charter plane went over the side of Airport Mesa at 3:50 p.m., on Wednesday, May 25, after attempting to land at the Sedona Airport.

According to authorities, the Embraer Phenom 100 twin jet crashed approximately 300 feet below the edge of the airport’s runway. Five passengers inside the plane managed to evacuate the site of the crash and make their way up the mesa to the airport, where they reported the incident.

According to Sedona Fire District Fire Chief Nazih Hazime, the plane’s three passengers and two pilots appeared to have sustained only minor injuries as a result of the crash.

The aircraft reportedly left San Jose, Calif., at 2:30 p.m. and was scheduled to land in Sedona at 3:52 p.m.

“They were all able to walk out of it and walk up the hill about 300 feet,” Hazime said. “There was a lot of damage to the plane.”

The incident occurred at approximately 4 p.m. May 25. SFD crews, Sedona police, and U.S. Forest Service authorities responded to the crash.

“We had the Forest Service on scene and our people as well,” Hazime said.

JetSuite charter planes are commonly known as Red Stripes due to a characteristic stripe from the nose of the plane to the tail.

Mac McCall, general manager and CEO of the Sedona Airport, said an investigation into the incident has already begun. National Transportation Safety Board investigators were expected on the site Thursday, May 26.

“It went off the end of the runway and fortunately, the blow was softened by the junipers and all the trees on the way down the hill and everybody walked away,” McCall said. “As soon as [NTSB investigators] get what they need on the site here, we will start the recovery operation. Not sure how it will be done yet, but a high-lift helicopter may be here. We’ve done that in the past.”

There has not been a crash at the Sedona Airport for two-and-a-half years, McCall said.

 (Patrick Whitehurst - Sedona Red Rock News)

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