Comair Plane Took Off From Wrong Runway, Crash Claims 49

A jet mistakenly trying to take off on a runway that was too short crashed into a field Sunday and burst into flames, killing 49 people.


The plane had undergone routine maintenance as recently as Saturday and had 14,500 flight hours, "consistent with aircraft of that age," Bornhorst said.

Investigators from the FAA and NTSB were at the scene, and Bornhorst said the airline was working to contact relatives of the passengers.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said President Bush, who is spending a long weekend at his family's summer home on the Maine coast, was being briefed on the crash.

"The president was deeply saddened by the news of the plane crash in Kentucky today," she said. "His sympathies are with the many families of the victims of this tragedy."

Among those killed were a newlywed couple starting their honeymoon. Jon Hooker, a former minor-league baseball player, had just married Scarlett Parlsey the night before the crash in a fairy tale wedding ceremony complete with a horse-drawn carriage and 300 friends.

"It's so tragic because he was so happy last night," said Keith Madison, who coached Hooker's baseball team at the University of Kentucky and attended the wedding. "It's just an incredible turn of events. It's really painful."

The crash marks the end of what has been called the "safest period in aviation history" in the United States. There has not been a major crash since Nov. 12, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 587 plunged into a residential neighborhood in Queens, N.Y., killing 265 people, including five on the ground.

Associated Press Writer Leslie Miller in Washington and Harry Weber in Atlanta contributed to this report.


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