The crash at Faro airport that killed 56 people 27-years ago is the subject of a book to be released on May 17 that collates testimony from of survivors, interviews and documentation.
Pedro Fernandes, responsible for operational safety at Faro airport, started researching the accident in 2014, having interviewed survivors and authorities, and has written, ‘A última aterragem.’ (The Last Landing.)
On the morning of December 21, 1992, the storm that struck the city turned out to be fatal for 56 of the 300 plus passengers on flight MP495 run by the Dutch company, Martinair.
The accident happened when the aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10, was close to landing but crashed, leaving dozens dead and 104 injured.
The book tells the whole story of the accident, from the takeoff of the aircraft to the investigations that were conducted to try to establish responsibilities, punctuated by testimonies, except from anyone at Martinair which declined to contribute.
In the final part of the book, Pedro Fernandes tries to come up with some explanations about the causes of the accident.
At the time, the lack of fault was acknowledged in court for the Dutch aircraft’s Captain, who now only operates cargo planes for a subsidiary of Air France-KLM.
Pedro Fernandes believes that errors in risk management may have been made, "but not negligence errors, since the Captain’s commitment was total in an attempt to land safely."
However, he decided to proceed with the landing in the face of a, "lack of definition of circumstances".
Faced with the danger of strong gusts of wind, the Captain decided to land the aircraft, just minutes after another plane from the same company was able to land safely at Faro airport.
The author talks also about the possibility of technical problems, the failure of the second engine, which was known to the crew and had reduced the braking capacity of the aircraft.
After filing the initial criminal proceedings in Faro Court, to determine possible liabilities for the accident, in 2008 a lawsuit was filed at the Lisbon Administrative Court against Martinair and ANA’s insurers, but the judgment was suspended at the request of the parties.
The book, "A última aterragem," is to be launched on May 17, at 5:30 pm, in the Municipal Library of Faro, presented by the director of Faro Airport, Alberto Mota Borges.
The proceeds from the sale of the book, which can be ordered via email at email@example.com, will go to the Portuguese Red Cross.
Published: 22 December 2018