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Thu, Feb 10, 2005

Aircraft Owners: Blame The Weather

Say Blizzard-Like Conditions Brought Down 737-200

The Afghan owners of a Boeing 737-200 that went down east of Kabul a week ago blame the weather. The accident killed all 104 passengers and crew, whose remains are at a mountain site more than 11,000 feet above sea level.

"The plane crashed in Kabul due to bad weather and not safety issues, said a manager at Phoenix Aviation, owner of Kam Air. "It was unfortunate, but it was not our fault." He was quoted by Reuters.

As a precaution, however, Kam Air has reportedly suspended its lease on another 737 in the wake of last Thursday's accident.

"It's more a precaution than anything else," said Charles Vincent. He's the UN's World Food Program representative in Kabul. "It's normal procedure after a plane crash to review the safety of the plane and the company that supplies it. It's for the clients' peace of mind," he told Reuters.

But is that true? Not according to that manager at Phoenix, who didn't want to be identified. He told the wire service that the UAE-based company had expected its contract with the UN and, in turn, with Kam Air, would be trashed because of "management problems."

The Kam Air 737-200 (file photo of type, right) was on its way from Herat to Kabul when it was turned away because of bad weather and the lack of a precision approach at the capital's airport. It fell off radar in high mountains about 20-miles east of Kabul. US officials who run the Bagram Air Base north of Kabul said they received no request from the 737's crew for permission to land there.



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