By Courtney Trenwith
The private jet was travelling 42 knots over the recommended speed for landing, preliminary investigations by Saudi and British aviation experts reveal.
A plane crash that killed three members of the former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's family two weeks ago may have been caused by speed at the time of approaching the runway for landing, the Saudi Aviation Investigation Bureau said on Wednesday.
Preliminary investigations show the Embraer Phenom 300 jet touched the runway in southern England at a speed of 150 knots, well above the 108 knots recommended by the aircraft manufacturer, the bureau said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
The aircraft’s wheels made contact with the runway with only 349 metres spare from the end of the 1,059-metre strip and was still travelling at 134 knots, the report said. The plane requires 616 metres to come to a final stop, according to the manufacturer.
The plane still had not stopped by the time it reached the end of the runway and hit several cars at a site adjacent to the airport, exploding into flames.
The privately-registered plane was flying from Milan's Malpensa airport to Blackbushe airport in southern England when it crashed, also killed the pilot, on July 31.
The three bin Laden family members who died are believed to be bin Laden's mother, his half-sister and her husband. Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television named those killed as Sana' Mohamed bin Laden, her husband Zuhair Hashem and Sana's mother, Raja' Hashem.
The investigation is being conducted by Saudi and British aviation officials.