Maldivian DHC6 at Male on Oct 4th 2017, hard water landing

Last Update: June 26, 2019 / 16:31:16 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 4, 2017


Male, Maldives

Aircraft Registration

ICAO Type Designator

Airport ICAO Code

A Maldivian de Havilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otter on floats, registration 8Q-ISB performing a flight from Dhaalu Atoll to Male (Maldives) with 15 passengers and 3 crew, was on approach to Male's Sea Port when the aircraft impacted the waters hard at the Sea Port and flipped over at about 11:18Z. The occupants were able to evacuate the aircraft in time. A crew member sustained minor injuries and was taken to a hospital, the other occupants escaped without injuries. The aircraft received substantial damage and became submerged with just the floats remaining above water.

The airline reported the crew attempted to land at the Sea Port, however, due to unexpected extreme weather the crew lost control resulting in a crash landing.

Maldives' Civil Aviation Authority reported an accident occurred when an aircraft attempted to land at Male's Water Aerodrome of Velana International Airport. The DHC-6-300 8Q-ISB sustained substantial damage, the 15 passengers and 3 crew were not injured, a number of occupants were taken to a hospital for checks and have been released in the meantime. The occurrence was rated an accident and is being investigated.

In a preliminary report dated Jan 3rd 2018 Maldives CAA summarized the sequence of events:

There were fifteen passengers, two pilots and one cabin crew on board the aircraft and the first officer was the pilot flying. The accident occurred during landing at Velana International Airport water aerodrome.

The aircraft landed on the North Right Water Runway during a rain shower with a gusting westerly cross wind. The aircraft first touched down on its left float and bounced. The captain initiated a go-around by applying full power with the flaps in the fully extended position. The aircraft was at a very low speed in a nose-high and right-wing-low attitude. The aircraft thereafter touched down on its right float, the right wing tip digging into water. As a result the aircraft started turning right towards the shore. The aircraft continued to turn on a right bank and finally flipped and crashed into the sea upside down facing South. The aircraft sustained substantial damage.

The passengers and crew did not sustain any serious injuries. All passengers evacuated from the aircraft before arrival of the rescue boats. The passengers and crew were safely taken to the ARFF Marine Station and later treated at Hulhumale’ Hospital.

In the preliminary report the Accident Investigation Coordinating Committee listed all occupants as unhurt.

On Jan 23rd 2019 Maldives CAA released their final report (Editorial note: which remained undiscovered due to a missing link on the list of reports and came to light only through the release of the next report making clear one report was missing) concluding the probable causes of the accident were:

The investigation identified the following causes;

- Improper recovery techniques from a bounced landing; application of go-around procedures whilst the aircraft was at low speed with flaps fully extended.

- Breakdown of crew coordination during the attempted go-around.

- Poor judgement of approaching inclement weather condition; crew decided to land, hoping that they could make it before the approaching storm strikes the landing area.

The captain (45, ATPL, 9,449 hours total, 9,233 hours on type) was pilot monitoring, the first officer (31, CPL, 261 hours total, 93 hours on type) was pilot flying.

The CAA analysed that there was no evidence of any technical defect that could have contributed to the accident and continued:

During the interview, crew indicated while on approach to MLE, they noticed inclement weather approaching from the West. According to the crew, at 300ft the aircraft was configured for landing with full flaps and propeller levers at the full forward position. Wind shield wipers were turned on due to the light rain.

The aircraft touched down in the intended landing area, on the left float first and bounced, then contacted the water a second time on the right float. According to the copilot, he reduced power by pulling the power levers back. At the same time, as stated by the Captain, he placed his right hand on the power levers (over the co-pilot’s left hand) and pushed the power levers fully forward, applying full power with the intention of going around whilst calling “Max power”. The Captain neither announced that he was taking over control, nor called for flaps 10°, as per the procedures. There was no response from the co-pilot in handing over of controls to the Captain. Proper procedures for the go around were not followed which is indicative of CRM breakdown.

During the investigation, it was revealed that the aircraft banked right sharply, turning right and crashed. The aircraft was found flipped over and resting overturned, facing south.

Studies of similar accidents involving same type of aircraft elsewhere in the world have shown that if a go-around was initiated when the aircraft is in a high pitch attitude at low speed and adding full power results in the aircraft lifting off in a very nose-high, rightwing low attitude. With full flaps selected and both wings in a stalled or semi stalled condition, the aircraft would not accelerate or climb. This results in the wings stalling and a loss of control.

VRMM 041300Z 27014KT 9999 FEW017 FEW018CB BKN280 29/25 Q1008 CB E,NW TEMPO 4000 TSRA=
VRMM 041200Z 26014KT 9999 SCT017 FEW018CB BKN280 28/25 Q1008 RESHRA CB SE,S TEMPO 4000 SHRA=
VRMM 041100Z 28013KT 9999 SCT017 FEW018CB BKN270 30/25 Q1007 CB NW NOSIG=
VRMM 041000Z 25014KT 9999 SCT017 FEW018CB BKN270 30/25 Q1007 CB NW,NNW TEMPO 5000 -SHRA=
VRMM 040900Z 27015KT 9999 FEW017 FEW018CB BKN270 30/26 Q1008 TEMPO 5000 -SHRA=
VRMM 040800Z 27017KT 9999 FEW017TCU BKN270 30/26 Q1009 TEMPO 5000 -SHRA=
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 4, 2017


Male, Maldives

Aircraft Registration

ICAO Type Designator

Airport ICAO Code

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