TThree people were injured and hospitalized Saturday night after a plane with 50 people on board operated by Romanian carrier Carpatair missed the landing and went off the track on Rome-Fiumicino airport.The ATR 72 was operating a domestic flight for Alitalia from Pisa to Rome at 18.15 GMT (20.15 GMT) with 46 passengers on board and four crew members.
The firefigheters and airport authorities who rushed to the scene reported that the plane was leaning on one side and was off the track with the landing gear broken.The most seriously injured of the three people hospitalized is a member of the Romanian crew, aged 30 years, who suffered trauma to the spine and a passenger injured at the pelvis. According to press eports, their condition is stable and they are not in danger. Initially, the press reported that 16 people had been injured. Several investigations were launched by the Italian National Agency for Flight Safety, Alitalia and Prosecution of Civitavecchia, in order to determine the exact circumstances of the accident. Based on the early findings of the inquiry, the cause of the accident might be related to adverse weather conditions – strong gusts of wind and rain – which made it difficult landing or pilot error.Alitalia announced Saturday night that the company was suspending “all flights operated by Carpatair routes from Pisa and Bologna” to Rome. Rome-Fiumicino airport remained opened to traffic, but one runway was closed.“During the landing, the plane touched the ground twice violently. A second time his landing gear crushed and the aircraft went off the track,” one of the passengers, visibly traumatized, told Ansa news agency. He admitted that he was “very scared”, adding that some passengers “were thinking that they were about to die and began screaming.According to Italian media, the partnership between Alitalia and Carpatair became controversial in recent months following several incidents.Nicolae Petrov, the owner of Carpatair said on Sunday that the decision of Alitalia to suspends the flights operated by his company was prompted by the pressures made by the unions and it will last only few days, until ‘the cause is the incident is established’. Petrov said that the pilots of the plane are Romanians and assured that they do not have serious injuries.