Air controllers cast doubt on ‘vanished’ flight
Santo Domingo.- Air Traffic Controllers Association (ADCA) president Wellington Almonte on Tuesday challenged Las Americas Airport (AILA) authorities to divulge the flight plan filed Thursday night by the crew of the Hawker 125 jet bound for Punta Cana, but allegedly turned south as it vanished from radar.
He said all events that occur in aviation are recorded, and reiterated his call to divulge the details on the diverted flight by the US-registry N600 AE aircraft. "They should publicly show the recording to see if it’s true that procedures were met. The displays of Dominican Republic’s radars are also recorded and can be demonstrated without any problem."
Almonte stressed that the release of that information wouldn’t hamper the investigation into the aircraft’s whereabouts. "The secrecy with which the authorities are handling this is what concerns us."
Questioning whether in fact protocol was compiled with, Almonte noted that the plane’s pilots Fabio Urbino and Hector Ríos, have been identified as mechanics, an apparent contradiction which in his view should be clarified.
The expert said data he obtained from the jet’s flight plan is that it was given normal instructions from AILA’s tower; to take took off from runway 35, which is South-to-North direction. "That aircraft files a flight plan to Punta Cana and turns right immediately upon take off, but shuts down the transponder which links it with the secondary radars which we have in the country."
Interviewed on NCDN Channel 37 together with colleague Leonardo Rivera, Almonte added that the plane remained in contact for around 12 minutes after takeoff, which equals 70 miles. "It vanished 70 miles south of Las Americas."