Human Failure Among Probable Causes of Plane Crash in Ilopango

A human error or lack of maintenance are considered as the most probable causes of the plane crash that occurred on Tuesday in which two Air Force pilots died, military sources said unofficially.

In the first case, military sources that witnessed the accident say that the Air Force Pillan T-35 aircraft, piloted by captains Roberto Guillermo Castro Martínez (pilot) and Nelson Iván Saldaña Alfaro (co-pilot) flew inverted low height, then tried an acrobatic maneuver but failed to do it and went to crash into a house in the residential Bosques de la Paz, located in front of the headquarters of the Air Force in Ilopango.

Other sources claim the pilots were conducting a test flight of the wrecked plane, since this had a good time to be on the ground due to mechanical damage that had not been resolved due to lack of replacement.
Yesterday, El Diario de Hoy requested the Ministry of Defense its position before the two possible causes of the accident according to military sources.

The head of the Communications and Protocol Directorate, Colonel Darío Salvador Hernández Vega, replied:

“The official position that is being handled at the moment is that established in the statement that came out yesterday; the causes of the accident will be determined when the investigation of the accident being carried out by the Air Force is finished”.

In the statement on the accident issued the previous Tuesday, it only states that the aforementioned aircraft crashed while performing maneuvers to enter traffic and land on the runway of the Ilopango Airport.

The sources of El Diario de Hoy ensure that the Air Force fleet of aircraft does not receive adequate maintenance and that it is a constant risk for Salvadoran pilots.

According to the informants, during the administration of General David Munguía Payés, it was planned to repower the rotary wing (helicopters) and fixed wing (airplanes) fleet with the money that the United Nations Organization paid for the rental of a fleet of helicopters in Mali.

With the arrival of the new government, there was an expectation that perhaps whoever assumed as the new Minister of Defense would comply with improving the maintenance of the entire air fleet, but it has not been done either, they said.

On the previous November 29, an MD-500 helicopter, highlighted in Mali, suffered an accident, which resulted in injuries to the co-pilot, a Salvadoran sub-lieutenant.

The contingent of Salvadoran pilots has denounced the low maintenance given to the MD-500 fleet in Mali, as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The Ministry of Defense has refused to disclose how much money it receives for the rental of these aircraft to the UN.

According to official documents, the figure is several million, of which the Secretary of State does not report to anyone, not even to the Ministry of Finance, on the grounds that it is reserved information.

On October 22, 2019, a C-47 military plane crashed on the runway of the Ilopango Airport, resulting in seven paratroopers with various injuries.


Source: Elsalvador