Monday, May 30, 2022

McDonnell Douglas MD-82, HI1064: Accident occurred June 21, 2022 at Miami International Airport (KMIA), Miami-Dade County, Florida

National Transportation Safety Board accident number: DCA22FA132

A team of NTSB aviation safety investigators arrived in Miami on the morning of June 22, 2022, to begin the investigation into the June 21 gear collapse and runway excursion accident involving an MD-82 airplane operated as RED Air flight 203.

The flight originated in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. There were 130 passengers and 10 crewmembers on board; several injuries were reported.

The airplane experienced a collapse of the left main landing gear during landing on Runway 9, departed the runway and came to rest in a grassy area between runway 9 and 30. A post-crash fire on the right side of the airplane followed the runway excursion.

The investigator-in-charge, Dr. Sathya Silva, will lead the team of nine other investigators in Miami.

Dr. Silva and members of her team met with emergency responders the morning of June 22 and took control of the accident site.

The cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder were recovered from the airplane and will be transported to the NTSB laboratory in Washington on June 23.

Investigators will be documenting the airplane and the runway markings and environment with both still cameras and a drone over the next few days.

Investigators will be able to access the interior of the airplane once it has been defueled, which is being handled by a fueling contractor at Miami International Airport.

Once the airplane is defueled and NTSB investigators have completed the site documentation, the airplane will to be moved to another location for further examination.

All inquiries about the reopening of the runway and related airport operations should be directed to Miami International Airport.

The following investigative groups have been established:

Operations: This group documents the history of the accident flight and crewmembers' flight experience and training. The group also interviews crewmembers, evaluates weight and balance, dispatch data, air carrier information, and FAA oversight.

Human Performance will work jointly with the Operations group. This group studies the performance of the flightcrew involved in the accident and looks at all 'before-the-accident' factors that might be involved in human error, including fatigue, medication, alcohol, drugs, medical histories, training, workload, equipment design and work environment.

Structures: This group conducts documentation of the airframe wreckage and the accident scene, including measurement of runway markings, location of landing gear failure, and collecting the failed landing gear hardware for further examination.

Systems: This group will examine components of the airplane's hydraulic, electrical, navigational, pneumatic and associated systems, together with instruments and elements of the flight control system.

Survival Factors: This group examines the injuries to occupants as it relates to the evacuation.  The group looks at crashworthiness, use or nonuse of occupant restraint systems, and emergency egress.  The group examines the performance of first responders, and the subsequent triage and emergency transport of accident victims.

The Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing Commercial Airplanes are parties to the investigation and will provide relevant technical and other information as requested by NTSB investigators.

As provided by the International Civil Aviation Organization's Annex 13, the Dominican Republic has appointed an Accredited Representative to the investigation.

The team is expected to complete its on scene work in 5-7 days.

Additional investigative updates may be provided as circumstances warrant.

Four passengers are suing discount Dominican carrier RED Air after they say last week’s crash-landing at Miami International Airport caused them “fractured bones, orthopedic injuries, spine damage, and psychological injuries.” 

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday night, more than a week after Flight 203 crash-landed at the airport because of a landing gear malfunction. The MD-82 passenger jet skidded off a runway, the wing erupting in flames. Three people were injured among the 130 passengers and 10 crew members aboard.

The lawsuit also alleges that the aircraft’s service and maintenance logs show “several prior incidents” involving the landing gear “breaking, cracking, not extending, structurally failing, or not functioning properly.” 

“We have seen firsthand the severity of their injuries and trauma. We believe this was a preventable incident for which RED Air needs to be held accountable,” Miami attorney Kent Burlington, of the firm Goldberg & Rosen, said in an email. “The hard, violent landing, and landing gear failure should not have occurred on this commercial flight.” 

According to the complaint, RED Air’s flight crew “failed to take actions to evacuate passengers in a timely and safe manner, and chaos broke out as the terrified passengers rushed to free themselves through an exit door.” 

RED Air, which began operations late last year, also failed to hire pilots with enough experience and skill, according to the suit.

The passengers suing: Tamar Kalach, Sarkis Okhdjian, and cousins Anabella Perez, 15, and Camila Destefano, 19. 

Perez told WSVN-7 that she blacked out while trying to exit on the plane’s emergency slide, and she woke up on the grass by the runway. She believed the plane was going to explode.

“I was just dragging myself with my hands, trying to drag myself through the grass, just trying to get away from the plane, because I was like, a few feet away from it since I fell from it,” she said.

Perez suffered a torn ACL and meniscus, and fractured her tibia. 

It was unclear Thursday if RED Air has retained attorneys yet. In a statement after the crash, RED Air said the plane “had technical difficulties after landing” but did not provide additional details. “At RED Air we express our absolute solidarity with the passengers and crew of the aircraft,” the airline’s statement said. 

RED Air is a low-fare airline based in the Dominican Republic that launched in November 2021 and, for now, only flies between its home base in Santo Domingo and Miami International Airport. Hours after the June 21 crash, a RED Air mechanic told the Miami Herald he suspected pilot error, saying the landing gear had been properly maintained. 

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, which caused the shutdown of two of the airport’s runways.

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