The Grupo TACA Airbus 320 was trying to land with 124 people on board when it overshot the runway. Its nose smashed into an embankment and its fuselage buckled and broke in three places, trapping the pilot and co-pilot inside. More than 2,000 gallons (7,500 liters) of fuel spilled out of the jet, and authorities tried to clear away hundreds of onlookers while they hosed down cars trapped under the plane’s left engine.
“The airplane’s fuel could cause an explosion, and that would be an even bigger tragedy,” Security Ministry spokesman Ivan Mejia said on May 30.
Many passengers walked away from the accident. Traditionally — this makes the landing of Flight 390 a tragic, but technically good one.
The plane left San Salvador at 8:30 a.m. local time carrying 124 passengers mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica. It was scheduled to stop briefly in Tegucigalpa and in San Pedro Sula before heading on to Miami.
It remains unclear what caused the crash, but weather may have been a factor. The runway was wet with rain from Tropical Storm Alma.. On the first approach, the pilot aborted due to poor visibility, and the second time the braking was not optimal. But due to weather, the second attempt ended up in the middle of the runway, not at the beginning. The result was catastrophic.