Flight crew cite brake problem in Delta NYC accident: NTSB

By Jeffrey Dastin and Sagarika Jaisinghani
Delta flight 1086 is seen after it slid off the runway upon landing at New York's LaGuardia Airport March 5, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

By Jeffrey Dastin and Sagarika Jaisinghani

(Reuters) - A brake problem may have caused a Delta Air Lines Inc jet to skid off a runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport last week, according to testimony from the flight's crew, federal safety investigators said Monday.

The auto brakes were set to "max," but the crew "did not sense any wheel brake deceleration" before the plane crashed into a fence, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement. It added that the brake switch was found in the "max" position during the investigation.

"The captain reported that he was unable to prevent the airplane from drifting left," the agency said, confirming earlier media reports. The Boeing Co MD-88 aircraft stopped just feet from the icy waters of Flushing Bay, its left wing and other parts damaged but no passengers seriously injured.

"Investigators with the Airworthiness group will continue to examine and test the antiskid, autobrake and thrust reverser systems today," it added.

Another MD-88 aircraft operated by Delta landed on the same runway 3 minutes prior to the plane that crashed, the crew of which described the braking action on the runway as "good," the agency said.

Still, the National Transportation Safety Board said it is examining the weather conditions at the time of the accident.

As of Dec. 31, 2014, Delta operated 117 MD-88s with an average age of 24.2 years, making them the oldest segment of Delta's fleet. The agency said Delta last ran an overnight service check of the plane that crashed on March 2.

Twenty-three passengers on the plane received minor injuries, and all passengers who had been sent to a hospital for evaluation have been released, the agency said.

The Cockpit Voice Recorder group will convene at NTSB headquarters Tuesday to start developing a transcript from cockpit recordings, it said.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in New York and Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings and Richard Chang)