Crash exposed aviation 'failures,' report says

NTSB member cites other factors in Lexington crash


LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- A lead investigator of last summer's deadly Kentucky plane crash says the accident exposed "latent failures" across the nation's aviation system.

In an eight-page concurring opinion obtained by The Associated Press, National Transportation Safety Board member Deborah Hersman agreed that the pilots' failure to notice clues they were going down a runway too short for takeoff was the primary cause.

However, she suggested her colleagues may have overlooked nine other critical errors that she says should have been included as contributing factors in the NTSB's final report.

Among the factors that contributed to the crash, Hersman said, were a fatigued air traffic controller, a short-staffed control tower, outdated airport charts and missing paperwork that would have warned the pilots about a construction project that changed the taxiway route.

The Comair jet crashed in the predawn darkness Aug. 27, shortly after taking off from the wrong runway -- an unlit general aviation strip too short for commercial flights. Of the 50 people onboard, only the co-pilot survived.

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