Sabotage Unlikely in Mexican Learjet 45 Crash

 - November 20, 2008, 11:07 AM

Officials are all but ruling out sabotage in the November 4 crash of a Learjet 45 in Mexico City, which killed all nine aboard, including Mexican Interior Secretary Juan Camillo Mourino. Instead, a preliminary report suggests pilot error as a result of encountering wake turbulence from a Boeing 767-300 it was following on approach. Luis Téllez, Mexican secretary of communication and transportation, said an examination of the wreckage did not indicate any trace of explosives, and investigators determined that the engines were functioning at high speed and the aircraft did not explode in flight. “There was no indication of any sabotage whatsoever,” Téllez asserted. He said the evidence indicates the Learjet, which was on approach to Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport, was 4.15 nm behind the 767. Standard flight procedures require a separation of 5 nm. The flight’s voice recorder showed that the crew felt the turbulence just before the pilot “lost control” and, according to Téllez, revealed that the pilots’ voices reflected “anguish, impotence and frustration.” The communication secretary emphasized that these were preliminary findings and it would likely be several months before all the facts are known. The NTSB is assisting Mexican officials with the investigation.