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Wrong Fuel Guides Medical Flight to Doom in New Mexico


Call it ill fate or a case of extreme negligence. A medical flight operated by Southwest Aviation, Inc., recently crashed killing all 4 people aboard. The aircraft was owned by Elite Medical Air Transport. The medical flight was carrying one patient and three crew members. According to the federal safety investigators, the reason might have been the wrong fuel used during by the medical flight. The preliminary investigation has revealed that the medical flight was fuelled with jet fuel in the place of aviation gasoline at the Las Cruces airport.

Sequence of Events before the Crash of the Medical Flight

The medical flight was on its way to Phoenix. It has been reported that the dispatcher was contacted by one of the crew members aboard the unlucky medical flight. The contact was made via satellite telephone informing that the medical flight was on its way back as smoke was seen emanating from the right engine. The airplane had been flying at low altitude when it crashed and immediately turned into a ball of flame.

Who were Onboard the Medical Flight?

The people aboard have been identified as Fredrick Green who was the patient. Apart from him, Freddy Martinez, the pilot; Tauren Summers, the flight attendant; and Monica Chavez, the nurse were also killed. All the crew members hailed from El Paso while the patient was from Phoenix. The patient had been undergoing radiation treatment for sometime after a surgery for brain tumor and had taken the medical flight in connection with this ongoing treatment.

How Did Wrong Fuel Make its Way to the Medical Flight?

The possibility of wrong fuel making its way to the medical flight was first spotted by National Transportation Safety Board during its initial investigation. The team that reached the spot a day after the mishap immediately reported having smelt jet fuel instead of aviation gasoline. Further investigation revealed that the pilot, through the cockpit, had instructed the airport staff to fill the medical flight up with 40 gallons of fuel. The pilot had reportedly even helped the staff to close the fuel caps and had eventually gone on to sign the machine-printed fuel ticket.

The investigating agency, airport and medical flight operator declined to comment any further pending deeper investigation.

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