46 Die in ATR Crash
Investigators analyzed data last month from the CVR and FDR recovered from the ATR 42-300 that crashed into a sheer cliff face in the Venezuelan Andes on February 21, killing all 46 occupants. Search crews found the wreckage of the Santa Barbara Airlines ATR in a rugged mountainous area in the Sierra La Culata National Park, a day after ATC lost contact with the pilots and local residents heard a loud crash. The accident happened some 30 minutes after the twin-engine turboprop took off from the Andean city of Merida on a flight to Caracas. The pilots reportedly issued no distress call. Closed to all nighttime operations, Merida requires a rather steep ascent after takeoff to avoid nearby mountains.