19 years since the plane crash with 189 people onboard who died off the coast of Puerto Plata
PUERTO PLATA – On February 6, 2015 the nineteenth anniversary of one of the biggest air tragedies in the world, is commemorated as the Boeing 757, which was heading from Puerto Plata to Germany fell into the sea killing all 189 passengers.
This disastrous tragedy claimed the lives of 13 crew members and 176 passengers, mostly German tourists returning to their homeland after enjoying a vacation in Dominican Republic, when the Boeing 757 flying under the Turkish flag while serving Dominican Alas Nacionales company, headed for the city of Frankfurt in Germany, but fell into the Atlantic Ocean about 22 kilometers west off Puerto Plata, facing the beach of Cabarete and just seven minutes after takeoff from International Airport General Gregorio Luperon.
Apparently this airliner was at the time of the accident at about 5000 feet (equivalent to 1,500 meters), exactly on Tuesday, February 6, 1996 at 11:50 noon, at that time it rained in the area, but not with the intensity usual for rainfall in tropical zones.
At that time General Juan Bautista Rojas commanded the Air Base Puerto Plata, he flew over the tragedy area in a helicopter from the Dominican Air Force, reported that the plane went down quickly and rest assured that no survivors were seen but only the wreckage of the aircraft, floating corpses and objects from the luggage of passengers, located within five miles into a small oil slick caused by fuel from the downed plane.
The causes of the crash could not be determined immediately, and there was a possibility that the aircraft suffered a technical failure, or was struck by lightning. The ocean area of the tragedy was infested with sharks, as quoted by the Spanish newspaper “El País”, it appeared that the sharks were primed with the victims, and the rescue of mutilated bodies was undertaking for several days, although with difficulty due to bad weather conditions – heavy showers, winds, and waves up to three meters.
The joined rescue operation of the Armed Forces of the Dominican Republic, Bahamas and the United States, sent the scene patrol helicopters and Coast Guard based in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, while Dominicans and US Coast Guard had rescued from the sea at night almost hundred corpses, many with the decapitated or mutilated bodies and tears typical for shark bites.
The crashed plane was manufactured in January 1983, was traveling between Puerto Plata and German airports Schoenefeld (Berlin) and Frankfurt, after stopover in Gander (Canada) and was carrying 176 tourists of German, Austrian and Polish citizenship, returning from vacation, the crew was all Turks, but two Dominican sisters were hostesses – France and Evelyn Ramos, since the plane had been leased by the company Alas Dominican Birgen Air, based in Ankara, Turkey.
After this tragedy the Dominican Alas (a charter airline), was one of 14 companies of Caribbean countries which in 1993 was banned by the Federal authorities of North American Aviation from flying to the United States, determined that they did not meet certain international safety requirements.
Source: Puerto Plata Digital
February 6, 2015
Category: DR News |