Preliminary Report: Westwind crashes on takeoff

 - March 22, 2007, 9:47 AM

Israel Aircraft Industries 1124 Westwind, Tocumen, Panama, July 2, 2004–Westwind N280AT, operated by Air Trek as a Part 135 air ambulance flight, crashed into a building shortly after takeoff from the Tocumen International Airport. The airplane was destroyed and all six occupants were killed. A seventh person on the ground was also killed. VMC prevailed, and an IFR flight plan had been filed. The flight, which originated from Quito, Ecuador, had stopped in Tocumen for fuel.

An air traffic controller said that on takeoff, “It pitched up vertically, the nose then lowered, and the wings rocked side to side. The airplane then veered to the right and descended out of view.”

The airplane hit the ground on Taxiway Hotel, and a fire ensued. The right wing and right engine separated from the fuselage and fragmented into multiple pieces. The vertical stabilizer hit the ground and separated from the fuselage. The main fuselage, left wing and left engine continued across a grass field, where they struck an airport worker and hit a concrete wall. The airplane continued through the wall and came to rest inverted inside a building.