Precision AT42 at Bukoba on Nov 6th 2022, overran runway on landing and ended up in Lake Victoria
Last Update: March 17, 2023 / 16:33:34 GMT/Zulu time
Date of incident
Nov 6, 2022
Precision Air Services
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
ICAO Type Designator
The airline confirmed at about 10:40Z, flight PW-494 aircraft registration 5H-PWF was involved in an accident as it was approaching Bukoba Airport and crash landed in Lake Victoria. Rescue works are ongoing, so far 26 passengers have been rescued and taken to a hospital for medical care. So far no death has been confirmed.
Local police reported the aircraft crashed into the waters of Lake Victoria about 100 meters from the airport due to bad weather.
In a press conference at 12:00z local authorities reported they have recovered 3 bodies from the aircraft, so far 26 people have been recovered alive, the search for the missing 14 people is still underway.
In the afternoon Tanzania's Prime Minister, visiting the accident site, reported that a total of 19 people have died in the accident, it is unclear whether there were 2 rescuers, survivors succumbed in hospital or whether there is a discrepancy with the number of people on board (45 people instead of 43 people as reported by the airline, e.g. dead heading flight attendants not listed).
Survivors reported the aircraft had been approaching Bukoba in heavy rain, the approach was turbulent. The crew aborted the approach and climbed back, then announced they would try another approach and if that failed again, they would need to return to Dar es Salaam. The aircraft was on final approach again when they suddenly found themselves in the water, the cabin filled rapidly with water, a flight attendant opened the emergency exit in the back where they were able to get out of the aircraft and after some time were picked up by fisher boats.
The airline reported in the evening, that 19 occupants perished in the accident, 24 people survived the accident.
A ground observer reported the aircraft was heading into the direction of Musira Island when it impacted the waters of Lake Victora just a few meters away. One door of the aircraft was opened from the inside, other doors could not be opened from inside or outside, attempts to break them open were futile. The people getting out of the aircraft were taken onto canoes and taken ashore.
On Nov 7th 2022 earlier statements that both cabin crew had died in the accident were retracted. Officials now report the captain of the flight is amongst the dead.
On Nov 8th 2022 the airline reported the captain and the first officer of the flight perished in the accident, both cabin crew are amongst the survivors. The aircraft carried two Kenyan, one Chinese, one British and 35 Tanzanian passengers.
On Nov 8th 2022 the aircraft was lifted out of Lake Victoria and broke just ahead of the main wings in two parts during the recovery.
On Nov 10th 2022 Tanzania's AIB reported there were 19 fatalities, the aircraft was destroyed. The AIB is investigating.
According to recent charts by Tanzania's CAA there are no instrument approaches published for Bukoba, there are also no ground based navigation aids (NDB, VOR, DME) at the aerodrome (the next NDB and VOR/DME are at Mwanza).
In 2023 Tanzania's Ministry of Works and Transport released their preliminary report summarizing the sequence of events:
The ATR 42 - 500 aircraft with registration 5H-PWF was on the Visual Flight Rules (VFR) final approach to runway 31 of Bukoba airport in marginal weather conditions when the Enhanced Ground Proximity warning SINK RATE, about the excessively high descent rate came on three times. The warning was not followed by corrective action of the flight crew. Instead, the flight crew pushed the control column into a nose down position. The aircraft continued to descend fast until the ground proximity SINK RATE PULL- UP warning sounded and this time the aircraft was descending at a rate of 1,500 feet per minute. The aircraft crashed in water and THE PULL-UP action coincided with the noise of the aircraft striking the lake surface. The aircraft broke up on impact with the water but there was no fire. Of the 43 persons on board, 24 survived without serious injuries but 19 lost their lives including the two pilots. The aircraft was destroyed by the impact with water.
In a detailed factual summary of the flight the Ministry stated:
Much of the flight to Bukoba was uneventful, cruising at Flight Level (FL) 200. The flight reached top of descent at 0458 hours (0758 hours Local Time) when the crew initiated descent to FL 160.
At 0504 hours (0804 hours Local Time) there was a public address announcement of expected landing at Bukoba at 0526 hours (0826 hours Local Time). Nine minutes later Mwanza Approach advised the flight crew that the weather at Bukoba was fairly good with “wind calm”, “visibility better than 10 km” “partly cloudy” SCT 011, FEW013 CB, BROKEN 080, T21/17 and QNH 1018. However, as the flight progressed the crew started to experience signs of poor weather conditions. In their discussion they pointed out that they may have to approach the airport from the mountains (i.e. runway 13) if Bukoba remained below the clouds.
At 0519:32 hours the crew reported to Mwanza Approach to have Bukoba in sight and were cleared to change to unmanned frequency of 118.2 MHz.
At 0524:01 hours the crew encountered heavy weather over KEMONDO bay and decided that they were going to land on runway 13 (from the mountains on the mainland).
At 0525:25 hours the PIC said to the First Officer (F/O) “Look for the runway”. Indeed in one minute he gave this instruction three times. The F/O responded “I am looking”.
At 0525:45 hours the flaps were lowered to 15 degrees followed by the landing gears extension 7 seconds later. At this time the runway was not visible according to the conversation between the pilots. The PIC then decided that they should descend to FL 050.
Before landing checklist was perfomed at 0526:59 hours. Subsequent to this, the auto pilot was disengaged, the flaps were retracted to zero degrees and the landing gear was retracted. Evidently, the crew decided not to land and instead climbed to 5500 ft.
At 0529:35 hours the PIC transferred control to the F/O. The crew also started a discussion about the minimum fuel required for diversion from Bukoba to Mwanza. The F/O suggested a diversion to Mwanza would be appropriate but the go-around was continued.
At 0533:24 hours the PIC instructed the F/O to go to Kemondo and try again. This was followed by a Public Address (PA) from the PIC to inform the passengers that they could not land at Bukoba due to heavy rain and they had to wait until the weather improved. If not, they would proceed to Mwanza.
At 05:33:33 selected altitude was changed from 5500ft to 5300ft, aircraft descended to 5300ft.
At 0534:43 hours there was an Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) warning “TERRAIN, TERRAIN PULL UP”, however the warning was not followed by corrective action of the crew. The crew continued to discuss about the weather and were informed by Bukoba load control that weather information had been transmitted to Mwanza Approach. The advise from Mwanza approach was to wait for 20 minutes before landing as visibility was not good. The crew continued to encounter storms and heavy rain as they proceeded to Kemondo. They subsequently decided to descent to FL 049.
At 0539:56 hours the PIC asked the F/O to confirm if he had seen Musila Island. The F/O confirmed to have seen it. However, in a span of 78 seconds the crew were trying to locate Musila Island to no avail.
At 0540 hours the flaps were deployed to 15 degrees, the landing gears were extended, the vertical speed was selected to -1,000 ft/min and 4,500 feet altitude was selected.
At 0541 hours Flap 25 degrees was selected followed by Full flaps and the PIC called “speed 102” which was acknowledged by the F/O. A few seconds later the PIC cautioned the F/O : “watch your speed, speed, speed, need power, a lot of power”. The F/O acknowledged. The power levers moved forward progressively to 62 degrees.
At 0542:16 hours the F/O said that he was in sight of the runway. The PIC proceeded to ask the F/O, “where is the runway”? The F/O replied: “ Look below at mine 12 o’clock but the rain is obstructing”.
At 0542:54 the aircraft was at 4,500ft (Selected Altitude). The PIC instructed the F/O “ Lets go a bit lower”. This was followed by the selection of - 400 feet per minute vertical speed (descent) and 4,000 feet altitude.
At 0542:59, at around 900ft Radio Altitude (RA) and at approximately 1.5 Nautical Miles (NM) from the runway threshold, the PIC said he had the runway in sight and he took control from F/O.
At 0543:01 hours the autopilot was disengaged. Power levers were moved backwards to 38 degrees (flight idle position)
At 0543:07 hours the pilot control column effort was above 10 daN3 in nose down direction (one point recorded) and the Vertical speed was -1,100 ft/min. Distance from runway threshold was estimated to be 2.26 km (1.2 nm). The aircraft RA was 878 ft.The pitch angle of the airplane continued to decrease while the rate of descent increased to 1,700 ft/min.
At 0543:09 hours the PIC called ” Watch height calls” and the F/O replied “Ok”. At this point the wind speed was reported by the F/O to vary from 19kt to 28 kt. The wind direction in the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) was about 30 degrees.
At 0543:20 hours there was a radio altimeter 500 feet called out. Some 2 seconds later there was an EGPWS warning: SINK RATE, SINK RATE, whilst the vertical speed was 1,700 ft/min, wind speed 25 kt and direction 32 degrees.
At 0543:26 hours the PIC instructed the F/O to put the condition lever to maximum. The pilot control column registered effort above 10 daN in nose down direction (one point recorded), vertical speed -1,300 ft/min and the distance to runway 31 threshold was estimated to be 1.11 km (0.60nm). The aircraft RA was 300 ft.
At 0543:28 hours there was an EGPWS warning SINK RATE and one second later, there was a pilot control column effort above 10 daN in nose down direction (four points recorded). Five seconds later there was another SINK RATE warning and the rate of descent increased to 1,700 ft/min.
At 0543:35 hours the F/O called: ’’Lift up Captain’’. One second later, there was a SINK RATE PULL UP warning from the EGPWS. The rate of descent decreased to 1,500 ft/min. There was no response from the PIC.
At 0543:38 the F/O shouted: “Pull up captain” and the aircraft impacted the water. The impact with water occurred at this time while the aircraft was descending at 1,500 feet per minute and the FDR recorded pilot control column effort of above 10 daN in the nose up direction. This was the last point recorded by the flight data recorder.
The Ministry reported the captain (64, ATPL, 23,515 hours total, 11,919 hours on type in command) was also the company's chief pilot and was assisted by the first officer (46, CPL, 2,109 hours total, 1,700 hours on type).
Only available METARs:
HTBU 060300Z 27004KT 9999 SCT012 FEW014CB BKN080 20/17 Q1015=
HTBU 060200Z 27004KT 9999 SCT012 FEW014CB BKN080 20/17 Q1015=
Available METARs for Mwanza, located about 95nm southeast of Bukoba on the shores of Lake Victoria:
HTMW 060800Z 32013KT 9999 SCT023 FEW024CB 25/20 Q1018 NOSIG=
HTMW 060500Z 30005KT 9999 TS BKN018 FEW019CB 19/17 Q1016 NOSIG=
HTMW 060400Z 13015KT 8000 -TSRA BKN019 FEW020CB 21/16 Q1015 NOSIG=
HTMW 060300Z 00000KT 9999 FEW018 FEW019CB 19/18 Q1015 NOSIG=
HTMW 060200Z 00000KT 9999 FEW018 FEW019CB 20/19 Q1015 NOSIG=
Date of incident
Nov 6, 2022
Precision Air Services
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
ICAO Type Designator
This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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