Bluebird DH8D at Beledweyne on Jul 14th 2020, aircraft collides with runway obstacles and bursts into flames

Last Update: July 17, 2020 / 15:17:37 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 14, 2020


Aircraft Registration

ICAO Type Designator

A Bluebird Aviation de Havilland Dash 8-400, registration 5Y-VVU performing a charter freight flight from Djibouti (Djibouti) to Beledweyne (Somalia) with 3 crew and 8000kg of humanitarian food aid, landed in Beledweyne but collided with obstacles on the runway and burst into flames. All three occupants were rescued, the aircraft sustained substantial damage including the fracture of at least one of the wings and was rendered destroyed.

A manager of Bluebird Aviation confirmed the occurrence reporting a donkey was crossing the runway. All three crew members survived without serious injuries.

On Jul 15th 2020 Somalia's CAA reported the aircraft involved was a Dash 8-400 by Bluebird Aviation with the tail number 5Y-VVU carrying food in support of AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia). The aircraft had been chartered by US Department of Defense. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

On Jul 15th 2020 the captain of the flight reported they were landing at Beledweyne when a donkey entered the runway. They attempted to turn to avoid the animal however collided with the donkey. The aircraft subsequently skidded off the runway. All three crew received minor injuries in the accident.

On Jul 17th 2020 The Aviation Herald received the preliminary report by Somalia's Aircraft Accident Investigation Branch (SAAIB) stating as preliminary probable root cause:

The root cause of the accident is an obstruction on the runway.

The SAAIB reported the available runway length was 1200 meters. The flight recorders (FDR, CVR) were recovered and are currently being analysed.

The SAAIB described the sequence of events:

On arrival at Bletweyne airstrip, the pilot conducted approach procedures to runway 22 and touched down safely; however, then the pilot observed an obstacle on the runway, which he unsuccessfully attempted to avoid, with the aircraft subsequently colliding into sand heaps; leading to the damage of the right undercarriage, wing part, radome and propeller blades; and caught fire. The ground speed of the aeroplane was 110 kts. The runway lies 700 ft amsl, Latitude 04044’8.99’’N and Longitude 45012’13’’E.

The SAAIB reported there were no injuries.

The captain (45, ATPL, 9000 hours total, 4000 on type) was assisted by the first officer (29, ?, 7000 hours total).

The SAAIB proivded weather information: "Satellite weather information received from the Somalia meteorological station at 1010Z, indicated scattered low clouds at 2500 feet, visibility of more than 10 km and a wind direction from 2200 south west at a wind speed of 15 kts (220/15kts)."

The SAAIB summarized crew testimony:

According to the pilot’s report, he was aware that there was ongoing maintenance to runway 22, and therefore he conducted a low pass inspection on the left downwind; satisfied it was safe to proceed, and receiving clearance over VHF he touched down safely. Whilst landing he observed an obstacle in the runway, which he attempted to avoid by diverting to its right; however unsuccessfully, the aircraft collided with heaps of maintenance sand. Colliding with the left side of the aircraft, it proceeded to centrifugally rotate around the obstacle sustaining further damages to its right side, and finally catching fire. Emergency evacuation of the two crew members and one passenger was initiated, with no injuries noted.

Outboard parts of the left wing separated by impact with the heaps of sand.

Beledweyne Airport (position N4.7667 E45.2389) features a sand/gravel runway 04/22 of 2200 meters/7220 feet length.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jul 14, 2020


Aircraft Registration

ICAO Type Designator

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