Monday, August 01, 2011

Aviation Update

On July 28th an Asiana Airlines Boeing 747-400F freighter crashed into the ocean off South Korea after an apparent on board fire, killing the two crew members. The first report I saw was from CNN yesterday evening on their main web page headlines section, although the byline was dated July 29 and it appeared to be an update about sending the NTSB to help investigate.

In looking around on the net here was already a Wiki page up. Strange there would be so little coverage for such a horrible accident, especially after most of the major media covered the 'miracle' crash of the Caribbean Airlines 737 in Guyana two days later.

If the Asiana disaster scenario sounds familiar it should. Last year another giant Boeing 747-400F caught on fire after taking off from Dubai and crashed on trying to return to the airport. The demise of UPS flight 6 was tentatively blamed on lithium batteries. This Asiana flight was also carrying lithium batteries and other flammable materials. The FAA issued a safety alert on handling such cargo after flight 6. Lithium batteries are certainly flammable but nobody has yet explained how the fire started on the UPS aircraft.

Although considered far-fetched, AQ also took credit for the downing of flight 6 not too long after the package bomb plot involving printer toner cartridges was uncovered last year. Also, a Lufthansa MD-11 cargo plane crashed on approach to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia almost a year to the day--July 27. But just because AQ takes credit doesn't mean they did it, as seen in the Norway murder spree.

As to coverage, perhaps the crash of a cargo plane with only two on board halfway around the world just isn't very newsworthy here. The package bomb threat was last year's news and besides, why would terrorists target South Korea?

Maybe they wouldn't. But the Republic of Korea is a coalition partner in support of Operation Enduring Freedom--in the Horn of Africa. Yemen is the epicenter of the package bomb threat. And one of the ill-fated Asiana pilots took out a lot of life insurance recently--certainly something the insurance investigators will be interested in, although such might depend on whether the airline had been getting a lot of threats of late.

MORE 8/1/11

Could this be the reason the pilot took out so much life insurance?
The South Korean jet was coming in to land at Seoul's Incheon International Airport - close to the border with North Korea - when Marines opened fire with rifles. The incident took place at dawn Friday, Yonhap news agency reported, citing a military source.

The Asiana Airlines jet carrying about 119 people was undamaged and no one was hurt.
This was from back in mid June. Maybe when your own soldiers are firing on you it's time to get some insurance. As to foul play, if local officials are considering such a thing it's probably focused more towards sabotage coming from a northern neighbor than from anywhere else.

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