Sun, Jul 04, 2004
Six aboard, one on ground die, witnesses report explosion and
ball of fire during takeoff
An 1979 model IAI-1124 Westwind jet registered to MedJets (Air
Ambulance by Air Trek, Inc., photo from MedJets' web site) crashed
into an airport hangar at Tocumen International Airport at Panama
City airport in Panama during takeoff Friday and burst into flames,
killing seven people. The dead include four crew members from
MedJets, two passengers and one person on the ground.
The crewmembers have been identified by Panamanian sources as
Hayward Daisey, Monts Morrow, Steven Girold and Barry Scott White.
The two other pax on the aircraft were Italian nationals and were
identified as Alessia Mareati and Paola Di Gregori. A courier for
the Panamanian company Girag Air Cargo, identified as Santiago
Velazquez, was killed when he was hit by the aircraft after it had
crashed. It was not clear at press time which one of the passengers
was the patient that was being ferried.
The aircraft was on a medical ferry mission, taking a patient
from Quito, Peru to Ecuador and on to Washington (DC). It
had made a stop in Panama City to refuel and was to continue
its mission. Witnesses reported that they heard an explosion and
saw a ball of fire and smoke as the aircraft was taking off, after
which the aircraft crashed into one of the hangars at the
"All those aboard were killed," said Humberto Chavarria,
assistant director of Panama's Civil Aviation Authority. "The pilot
lost control, veered off course and crashed."
A team of investigators from the US was expected to arrive
yesterday to begin an analysis of the accident.
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