Heroic cops in Lexington deserve recognition. Comair 5191 crash report.
I tried to post this last week but of course, the webteam was asleep at the wheel again. It appears to be working now so here goes.
I just got done reading a 27 page NTSB report on the Comair 5191 crash in Lexington, KY last year. The report was on the survivability factors and the preliminary results so far. A large part of this report was detailed accounts of the events from people who were there including the airport police, firefighters and dispatcher, as well as the Lexington Metro police. I will summarize it here since the entire thing is way too much to expect any normal person to read.
First, to set the stage for this. The jet ran off the end of the runway, through the perimeter fence striking various landscape features and finally, a line of trees. The crash was very bad without the jet fuel; i would estimate the speed to be about 150mph. Of the 50 souls on board, 27 were traumatic fatalities. 22 were killed as a result of the post-crash fire (either burns or smoke inhalation). The details about what was left of the passenger cabin and cockpit even without the fire was just devastating. The sole survivor was the first officer seated in the right seat of the cockpit. The following is probably why he is still alive.
The control tower notified the airport police and ARFF personnel of the crash. The two airport police officers responded in their SUV's. The ARFF trucks were a few minutes behind them. At the same time, Lexington 911 was receiving the 911 calls from residents in the area of the crash. LX 911 called the tower to inquire and the tower told them it was for real and to send everyone they've got. FYI, KLEX uses cross-trained police/ff for their public safety department. So they are all EMS, Firefighters, and Police Officers and rotate duties.
The first units to arrive at the crash were the two airport police officers and a Lexington metro police officer. The grass in this field was higher than the vehicles so they were simply driving blind towards the glow.
The police officers found the only opening in the aircraft not totally engulfed in flames was at the cockpit which was also upside down. The three of them climbed up despite the fire, explosions, jet fuel, oxygen tanks blowing up, and everything else to try to rescue the only person they could get at. The first officer was hanging doubled over upside down and badly hurt. They managed to eventually undo his harness and get him out while things were exploding next to them. One of the officers drove the Tahoe over to the nose and they put the first officer inside to begin medical treatment and to get him away from the burning plane.
Recognizing the dire condition of the first officer, they decided there was no time to wait for an ambulance to get out to this field and transport to the hospital in the normal manner. They were on their own with this guy. One of the the KLEX officers drove while the metro officer was in the back with the trauma kit controlling the massive bleeding as best he could. They hauled *** out of the field just as ARFF was arriving and beginning to apply foam. The remaining KLEX officer remained on scene to help with the fire suppression.
The officer driving radioed his dispatcher to notify University Hospital they were on their way and it was bad. The whole way in, the first officer was going downhill very quickly. Agonal respirations, gurgling, etc. They arrived at the hospital sometime before 0630 but I don't know the exact time. Nonetheless, they arrived in time for the ER to be able to stabilize him and he subsequently survived.
Based on the described medical condition of the first officer, it is unlikely he would have survived if these guys didn't make that rescue and then get him to the hospital. I don't know many people that would just climb into a burning plane. These guys deserve some serious recognition.