Crash cleanup continues at Chennault

9/16/09 10:30am

The Chennault International Airport is back to business as usual. Chennault's Director of Operations Anthony Ware tells 7 News the airport opened this morning at 6:30. Ware also says the FAA has concluded its investigation into the incident and officials have determined cross-winds are to blame. The pilot and co-pilot were the only two on board and they were unharmed.

By Adam Hooper - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - According to officials, cross winds are to blame. At around noon on Tuesday, a Lear jet came to a crash landing at Chennault International Airport. The only people on board were the pilot and co-pilot, amazingly both escaping any injuries.
Crews arrived on scene to begin cleaning up and containing a fuel leak near the left wing of the plane. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched their own investigation into the crash.

"We are working with both the FAA and the charter company to try and get this fixed," said Randy Robb, Executive Director of Chennault.

To be safe, officials temporarily shut down all of the runways while crews continue with clean up and removal of the wreckage.

"It would be prudent to wait until the whole thing is done for safety purposes, for both landing and taking off aircrafts," said Robb.

But, when you shut down a runway, incoming planes must be re-directed. This has caused quite a stir in the Lake Area, with many calling to report low flying planes. That is because all air traffic was diverted to Lake Charles Regional Airport. Some of those planes were military planes conducting training exercises.

"What they were doing was, basically, shooting approaches. This means they are lining up with our runway as if they were going to land, but they don't actually land. One of those aircrafts was a C-5, which is the largest military plane. It was just as high as any other aircraft that would approach, but since it is so large it looks a lot closer than it actually is," said Heath Allen, Director of Lake Charles Regional Airport.

A crew from Houston arrived on the scene hours later, to safely remove the damaged aircraft.  Clean up is expected to take until 5 a.m. Wednesday.  After clean up is complete Chennault will re-open their runways for normal air traffic.

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