Saha B703 at Fath on Jan 14th 2019, landed at wrong airport

Last Update: March 3, 2019 / 18:44:14 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jan 14, 2019

Classification
Crash

Destination
Karaj, Iran

Aircraft Registration
EP-CPP

Aircraft Type
Boeing 707-300

ICAO Type Designator
B703

A Saha Airlines Boeing 707-300 freighter, registration EP-CPP performing a freight flight from Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) to Karaj (Iran) with 16 crew and a cargo of meat, was on approach to Karaj's Payam Airport's runway 30 (length 3660 meters/12,000 feet) when the crew descended towards and landed on Fath's airport 31L (official length 1070 meters/3510 feet and width 25 meters/80 feet), overran the runway, broke through an airport perimeter wall, crashed into houses past the end of the runway and burst into flames at about 08:30L (03:00Z). So far one survivor (the flight engineer) and 16 bodies have been recovered. One house was destroyed, a number of houses were damaged.

Emergency services reported 16 bodies (15 male, 1 female) have been recovered so far. One survivor was taken to a hospital.

Another aircraft had confused the same airports but gone around in time, see Incident: Taban MD88 at Karaj on Nov 16th 2018, went around from very low height at wrong airport.

Iran's Air Force confirmed the aircraft belonged to Saha Airlines. The only survivor recovered so far was the flight engineer on board of the aircraft.

On Jan 17th 2019 The Aviation Herald learned that there will be no investigation according to ICAO Annex 13 conducted by Iran's accident investigation board. An investigation committee led by the military is in charge of the investigation. Although the aircraft received the certificate granting the civil registration EP-CPP, there was no certificate of airworthiness issued and no approval for civil operation. The accident flight therefore had been conducted as a state (government) flight.

On Jan 17th 2019 it became known both black boxes of the aircraft had been recovered.

On Jan 17th 2019 the flight engineer, only survivor of the crash, gave a TV interview from his hospital bed. The flight engineer stated, that the landing was entirely normal, however, at the wrong airport. He stated (translation from Persion to English by a native Persian reader of AVH): "We followed normal procedure, and landed normally. Then all of the sudden we found ourselves at the end of the runway. It all happened so fast that there was no time for any kind of reaction, not even a shout or comment. No one said or did anything as we were all shocked by the suddenness of what was happening. I didn't feel anything after that. I regained consciousness a while later and found myself sandwiched between two bodies with fire approaching from behind. I couldn't move as my clothes were entangled in metal scraps. I saw a youngster trying to help outside the aircraft and shouted. He heard me and helped me out".

According to AIP Iran Fath Airport's, ICAO code OIIF, runway 13R/31L is 1300 meters/4264 feet long and 25 meters/80 feet wide and features stop ways (SWY) of 115 meter by 25 meters as well as clearways (CWY) of 115 meters by 150 meters each on both ends. However, as visible also on the aerial view, immediately after the 1300 meters of paved surface there is a wall (on both sides). Hence officially, other than ICAO defines, the distance for SWY (and overlapping CWY), which require to be entirely free of obstacles with the stopway also required to be paved and able to carry the aircraft's weight, has to be deducted from the runway length to identify the usable runway length leaving an official landing distance available of 1070 meters. If the aircraft touched down past the official threshold, it thus has 1185 meters of paved surface available for landing before breaking through the wall. The AIP for OIIF do not match reality - runway markings suggest displaced thresholds, however, no mention of displaced thresholds in the AIP, the SWY and CWY would normally be placed beyond the end of the official runway. The official landing distance would normally be the official runway length minus a displaced threshold, the stopway would not be included in the landing distance available.

On Feb 28th 2019, with the release of AIRAC Cycle 02/2019, all approach charts of Payam were modified to show Fath Airport with a prominent remark "Do not mistake Fath and Naja Airports for Payam Airport which have similiar runway alignments."

Metars Karaj:
OIIP 140400Z 16010KT 4000 BR FEW025 SCT035 OVC090 00/M01 Q1012 RERA=
OIIP 140300Z 12010KT 3000 SN RA FEW025 SCT035 OVC080 M00/M01 Q1012=
OIIP 131800Z 14008KT 6000 SCT035 BKN100 M01/M07 Q1014=
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jan 14, 2019

Classification
Crash

Destination
Karaj, Iran

Aircraft Registration
EP-CPP

Aircraft Type
Boeing 707-300

ICAO Type Designator
B703

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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