Winair DHC6 at Saint Barthelemy on Jan 24th 2014, aircraft on final approach struck pedestrian on road

Last Update: December 31, 2020 / 17:59:28 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jan 24, 2014

Classification
Report

Airline
Winair

Departure
Sint Maarten

Aircraft Registration
PJ-WIS

ICAO Type Designator
DHC6

A Winair de Havilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otter, registration PJ-WIS performing a flight from Sint Maarten (Dutch Antilles) to Saint Barthelemy (Saint Barthelemy) with 15 passengers and 2 crew, was on final approach to Saint Barthelemy's runway 10 crossing over the road ahead of the runway when the crew felt a jolt. The crew continued for a safe landing without further incident and taxied to the apron. They subsequently informed the controller about the jolt and were told, they had struck a pedestrian on the road.

The pedestrian, a professional photographer taking photos of arriving aircraft, reported he felt he was far enough from the approach track to be out of danger, however, the aircraft hit his camera causing it to fall to the ground throwing him off balance too. He was taken to a hospital for assessment but diagnosed with no injuries.

On Dec 31st 2020 the French BEA released their final report in French only (Editorial note: to serve the purpose of global prevention of the repeat of causes leading to an occurrence an additional timely release of all occurrence reports in the only world spanning aviation language English would be necessary, a French only release does not achieve this purpose as set by ICAO annex 13 and just forces many aviators to waste much more time and effort each in trying to understand the circumstances leading to the occurrence. Aviators operating internationally are required to read/speak English besides their local language, investigators need to be able to read/write/speak English to communicate with their counterparts all around the globe).

The BEA concluded the probable cause of the serious incident was:

The serious incident was the result of the low pass of the aircraft over the road as well as the presence of the pedestrian at the approach axis which is marked as an area of risk.

The unusually low trajectory of the aircraft may be caused by incorrect height maintained by the pilot, destabilization due to turbulence or a combination of both factors.

The investigation did not determine whether the pedestrian was aware of the risk he incured despite the markings of the area.

Beyond the risk of injuries to third parties on the ground this serious incident illustrates the risk of this specific approach with respect to crossing height of fixed or mobile obstacles. Their avoidance is basically based on trajectory management by the pilot during an extremely complex phase of flight.

The risks of this specific approach must be seen in the light of the importance of the airport for the economy of the island and the connectivity to the rest of the world. The competent authorities have taken measures to mitigate the risks through access restrictions, mandatory specific training for flight crews in particular flight crew operating commercial flights.

The captain (CPL, 9,500 hours total, 9,200 hours on type) was pilot flying and properly licensed to operate into St. Barth. The first officer (CPL, 800 hours total) was pilot monitoring.

The BEA described the situation at St. Barth: runway 10/28 is paved, runway 10 has a downward slope of about 2%. On approach to runway 10, about 150 meters before the threshold, the aircraft cross over a road generally less than 10 meters above the road, which is marked on visual approach charts as 157 feet above the runway threshold.

No risk studies have been performed to date to assess the risk of collisions with vehicles or pedestrians. However, there were arrangments with the local businesses, technical services to operate oversized vehicles along the road only outside the operating hours of the airport.

The BEA did not receive any other reports of collisions with vehicles or pedestrians over the years, however, in 2016 a pilot of an arriving PC12 was observed by AFIS to exit his aircraft after landing and disembarkment of passengers to inspect the aircraft and then the road. He returned to the aircraft and departed without filing an incident report. AFIS requested fire fighters to inspect the road, who found a damaged road sign.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jan 24, 2014

Classification
Report

Airline
Winair

Departure
Sint Maarten

Aircraft Registration
PJ-WIS

ICAO Type Designator
DHC6

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