The accident, shortly after midnight, occurred as a result of an extremely low descent during low visibility conditions due to fog. The directional guidance and flashing approach lamps struck by the plane ranged in height from a few centimeters to over 10 meters.
Fortunately, of the 114 soldiers and 11 crew members on board, no one was injured. Specialists assert the safe landing was thanks to an exceptionally quick response on the part of the pilot, who evidently is very highly skilled.
Despite having landed safely, the aircraft destroyed guiding lights at a stretch of around 870 meters and suffered extensive damage to its fuselage, wings, flap fairings, lights and the nacelles on its engines. The accident has resulted in significant losses for the airport, and for the airline.
Representatives of the airport claim that ground services personnel carried out the landing procedure correctly and do not wish to discuss whether pilot error was a contributing factor. While crew members underwent a routine blood test shortly after the incident, no indications of alcohol use were found.
Though the next aircraft due to land had to wait until the runway was cleared of debris, the accident did not cause any further air traffic delays. The aircraft was towed to a parking stand, where it is expected to remain for approximately two more weeks until it is fully repaired. New lights will also be ordered and installed within this time. According to the spokesman for the Pyrzowice Airport, Cezary Orzech, pilots are aware of the damaged lights, so that no difficulties are expected for landing in all but very poor weather.
However, states Orzech, problems could arise in the case of extremely bad weather conditions, as not all pilots are equally qualified. Aircraft approaching Pyrzowice in such circumstances will be directed to land in the Krakow-Balice Airport.
Piotr Pietrzak, spokesman for the Krakow Airport, says Katowice dealt with the problem promptly and efficiently, installing a simplified approach lighting system, and that the Krakow Airport has not had to admit any extra aircraft bound for Katowice.