By Dialogo August 19, 2010 On 17 August, a commission of U.S. experts began investigating the plane crash that left one person dead and more than twenty injured on 16 August, after a commercial airplane carrying 131 people split in three as it was landing on the Colombian island of San Andrés. Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos characterized as a “miracle” the fact that the crash “did not turn into a tragedy” and announced that he will travel to the Caribbean island on Wednesday in order to recognize the local authorities for the timely way in which they reacted to the accident. For his part, Transportation Minister Germán Cardona indicated that the investigation into the accident began the same day, Monday, and that a commission of experts from the United States, including delegates from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), arrived Tuesday in order to collaborate in this task. “Anything that could be said at the moment would be no more than speculation. The investigative commission will give us the definitive answers,” the minister told the press. Cardona specified that the Colombian airline Aires, which owned the Boeing 737-700 that crashed, “has been in compliance with the protocols, controls, and procedures” required by the country’s aviation regulations. The president of the airline, Francisco Méndez, said at a press conference Tuesday that the plane suffered the accident “as it was landing at 1:49 a.m. (local time on 16 August, 6:49 a.m. GMT), at Gustavo Rojas Pinilla Airport, in the middle of a severe storm.” “The information that we have is that upon initiating the descent and getting ready to touch down, something happened that has been described as a bolt of lightning, and the plane crashed into the ground. We have to really investigate what it was that happened,” he added. The motors of the plane, which was finishing a flight from Bogotá to San Andrés, came off, and the fuselage was split into three pieces on the runway. The plane was carrying 125 passengers, at least 20 of whom were foreigners, including 8 from France, 4 from Brazil, 4 from the United States, 2 from Costa Rica, and 2 from Germany, as well as 6 crew members. The accident took the life of a seventy-three-year-old woman, who died of a heart attack after being taken to a hospital on the island of San Andrés, and left two victims seriously injured, an eleven-year-old girl and a fifty-eight-year-old woman, who were taken to Bogotá for medical care. The Germans, Lukas Rehm and Kirsten Epler, are hospitalized in Bogotá in “stable” condition, according to the airline. Another eight people injured were also hospitalized in Bogotá in “stable” condition. In addition, at least twenty people suffered bruises and minor injuries. For his part, the president of the Colombian Air-Traffic Controllers Association, Carlos Arturo Bermúdez, declared that a number of problems have been reported at the San Andrés airport. In addition, he declared that there is a deficit of more than three hundred air-traffic controllers in Colombia. The deputy director of the Civil Aviation Agency (Aerocivil, the regulatory agency for commercial aviation in Colombia), Col. Donald Tascón, announced that the plane’s black boxes have now been recovered.