Passenger Plane Crashes Just After Takeoff in Lexington

By: WKYT-TV - Lexington & The Associated Press
By: WKYT-TV - Lexington & The Associated Press

Comair Flight 5191 Plane Crash Update 8/27 4:15 PM

From the WKYT-TV 27 NEWSFIRST newsroom, Lexington, KY

At 6:07 AM, a CRJ-200 Regional Jet Leaving Blue Grass Field in Lexington Bound for Atlanta Crashed at Blue Grass Field, killing 49 people.

Comair President: "Our number one priority is taking care of the families affected by this."

Flight 5191, with a reported crew of 3 and 47 Passengers, is reported to have incurred 'Significant Fatalities'. Crew members names have been confirmed as Capt. Jeffrey Clay, first officer James Polehinke and flight attendant Kelly Heyer.

The lone survivor, Comair flight first officer, James Polehinke, is at UK Hospital in critical condition.

A Lexington police officer and two airport security officers pulled Polehinke from the plane.

Investigators have a flight manifest and are contacting relatives of passengers.

Associated Press is reporting former UK baseball player Jon Hooker and his wife, Scarlett Parsley were among those killed. They were wed last night.

Relatives and friends of possible passengers are directed to call (800) 801-0088 or (859) 767-1500.

Gov. Fletcher: "This is probably one of the largest tragedies we've seen in Kentucky, with the number of lives lost."

National Transportation Safety Board officials from Washington, DC are now in Lexington and will be on the scene for 4 to 10 days.

The investigation could take nearly 18 months before a final report comes out.

Family members and friends of passengers have gathered at the Campbell House in Lexington.

The Fayette County Coroner says passengers and crew were likely killed by the impact or the "hot fire" on board.

Blue Grass Airport was closed for three hours, but is now open. Officials suggest scheduled passengers call the airlines for flight availability.

The 'Black Box' Flight Recorder and the cockpit voice recorder have been recovered.

No immediate word on what caused the crash. Investigators are looking into whether the plane took off from the wrong runway.

The F.A.A. says terrorism has been ruled out.

A temporary morgue is being set up at the scene and bodies will be brought to the state medical examiner's office in Frankfort.

Airport C.E.O. Michael Gobb says it cannot be confirmed that the plane took off from the wrong runway, a 3,500 foot, daytime only runway. The Comair flight to Atlanta was supposed to have used a 7,000 foot runway.

Comair Officials say maintenance of the plane was up to date, with maintenance as recently as Saturday.

The crash was the country's worst domestic air accident in nearly six years.

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