Aviation accident lawyer calls for safety improvements following this very concerning landing incident.
Aviation litigation Partner at Ashfords LLP, who was a Boeing pilot during his career in the Royal Air Force (RAF), expresses concern at the veering from the runway and destruction of the aircraft during the landing roll.
On 28 March 2017 a Peruvian Airlines Boeing 737-300, performing flight P9-112 from Lima to Jauja (Peru) with 141 people on board, landed on Jauja's runway 31 then veered off during the landing roll. Early reports indicate that the aircraft had a hard landing and that (at some point) during the landing roll and departure from the runway, it suffered the collapse of its landing gear and burst into flames coming to a stop after skidding on fire for some distance. All passengers and crew were evacuated from the aircraft and there are media reports that around 29 people were taken to hospital with injuries. It is also reported that the fire has damaged the aircraft beyond repair.
Ashfords' Aviation Team, which is led by Partner Jim Morris, specialises in representing the victims of air accidents. Jim Morris is a former RAF pilot, and during his RAF career he flew the Boeing 707 AWACS aircraft on operations around the world and was the Squadron Flight Safety Officer. As a specialist aviation lawyer he has represented victims of many international airliner accidents, including the British Airways Boeing 777 fire during take-off at Las Vegas, The Dana Air Boeing / MD-83 crash short of Lagos Airport and the Ethiopian Airways Boeing 737 crash off the coast of Lebanon.
As a professional pilot, Jim commented: "It is early days with limited facts available, so it is not yet possible to properly analyse the causes of this very serious incident. Any veering off the runway and collapse of landing gear during landing can have catastrophic consequences, as this will cause the underwing engines to scrape the ground, putting extreme stress on the wings which can lead to leaks from the wing fuel tanks and serious fire. From the pictures in the press, it appears that as the aircraft veered off the to the right of the runway the right engine made contact with the surface then dug into the softer ground causing structural damage to the right wing and its fuel tank system, resulting in a serious fuel leak that burst into flame. Clearly there was extreme risk to all on board and it was very fortunate that all evacuated without any reported fatalities."
On the task for the accident investigators, Jim went on to comment: "It is to be hoped that the accident investigators can analyse the Black Box (flight and voice) data and the wreckage then promptly publish a preliminary report to enable the industry and the public to understand the key factors that contributed to this accident."
"The investigators will have to look at a number of factors including the crew preparation for the landing, whether the approach and landing conformed with all the required parameters (such as aircraft specifications / limitations, aircraft weight, flap and gear configuration, approach speed, approach track and rate of descent, landing flare technique and touchdown), the weather conditions at the time, the elevation of the runway and whether any malfunction with the aircraft (before and / or after touchdown) contributed to the accident."
"An interesting aspect of this accident is that the elevation of the airport above sea level is just over 11,000 feet, which is very high. At this height the air is much thinner meaning that an aircraft has to use a higher approach and landing true airspeed. Clearly the investigators need to determine whether this was a relevant factor to this accident."
"Thankfully all on board were able to evacuate the aircraft. However, this incident and the catastrophic fire could easily have resulted in a very different outcome with multiple fatalities and serious injuries. The Peruvian aviation authorities and the aviation industry need to learn lessons and implement all necessary measures to prevent this from happening again."