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Five die as Honduras jet overshoots runway

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Larger planes will be required to land at another airport
  • Tropical depression was over city on Friday, says CNN's Guillermo Arduino
  • Among dead: pilot, president of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration
  • The Airbus A-320 landed amid high winds, low visibility
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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (CNN) -- Five people died and more than 80 were injured when a commercial airliner overshot the runway into an adjoining street, crushing three vehicles and splitting into three sections before resting a few feet from a house, officials said.


A television image shows the Grupo TACA plane lying in a neighborhood in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Grupo Taca Airlines Flight No. 390 was traveling from San Salvador to Tegucigalpa with 135 people -- 124 passengers, two pilots, four flight attendants and five crew members who were being repositioned.

The Airbus A-320 landed at Toncontin International Airport amid high winds and low visibility at at 9:45 a.m. (11:45 a.m. ET), a Taca spokeswoman said.

In traveling 300 meters beyond the runway, the jet's cockpit was badly damaged and its fuel tank was breached. Though jet fuel flowed across the pavement, it did not ignite. Emergency workers covered the area and many of the passengers with foam.

Among the fatalities were the pilot; passenger Harry Brautigam, president of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, who suffered a heart attack; and a taxi driver whose vehicle was struck by the jetliner. Video Watch the site of the crash »

Earlier reports that seven people had died were erroneous, Honduran officials said Saturday.

The passengers included one from the United States, three from Colombia, three from Nicaragua and the rest from Honduras and El Salvador, Taca reported.

President Manuel Zelaya told CNN en Espanol that he spoke with a friend who was a passenger on the flight. The man told him that the passengers applauded when the pilot landed. That is not unusual, because the airport is in a valley, and the approach can be difficult, he said.

But when the plane did not stop at the end of the runway, emergency personnel snapped into action, Zelaya said. Firefighters were at the door within 20 seconds, and they quickly doused a fire that had broken out in one of the motors, avoiding a worse disaster, he said.

As a result of the wreck, landings at Toncontin will be rerouted to an airport 45 minutes from Tegucigalpa for all planes except those with 42 passengers or fewer, Zelaya said. The other airport has longer runways, and Zelaya predicted that hangars could be prepared and immigration facilities readied within two weeks.

A tropical depression -- a remnant of a tropical storm that hit nearby Nicaragua a day earlier, hung over the city on Friday, said CNN meteorologist Guillermo Arduino.

But it was not raining when the plane touched down, and Zelaya said weather did not appear to have played a role in the accident.

Toncontin was closed after the accident, but authorities were planning to reopen it during the weekend.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board was sending two investigators to the site, as is the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, to help the governments of Honduras and El Salvador in their investigation.

In addition, International Aero Engines and the BEA of France were each sending an investigator.

CNN's Layla Banegas contributed to this story.

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