Biega L410 at Shabunda on Oct 25th 2014, landed short of runway following engine failure

Last Update: December 17, 2020 / 03:01:19 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 25, 2014

Classification
Accident

Airline
Biega Air

Aircraft Registration
9Q-COT

Aircraft Type
Let L-410 Turbolet

ICAO Type Designator
L410

A Biega Air Let L-410, registration 9Q-COT performing a freight flight from Bukavu to Shabunda (DR Congo) with 2 crew and 1500kg of cargo, was on approach to Shabunda but contacted ground outside the aerodrome at the right hand bank of South Kivu River. Both crew received serious/critical injuries and have been taken to hospitals, the aircraft broke up and received damage beyond repair.

Local media report the aircraft came down in an area under control of rebels in armed fight against DR Congo's military, the fate of the cargo is unclear, there are reports of both the cargo being destroyed and having remained undamaged.

At some time in the past DR Congo's BPEA released their final report in French (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 investigation concluded the probable causes of accident were:

- Loss of control on forced landing followed by stall.

- Inadequate application of inappropriate procedures and recovery maneouvers.

The BPEA reported, that the aircraft and crew were on their 4th rotation of the day. Without ever mentioning which runway the aircraft was approaching or whether it was to the east or west of the aerodrome, that the aircraft was on final approach in daylight and good VMC weather descending through about 1000 feet (300 meters) above ground with landing lights turned on and the landing gear extended when the captain noticed the right hand engine's power and aircraft's speed reduced dangerously, recovery attempts failed, so that the captain decided to attempt a forced landing in a field of palm trees about 2nm short of the runway (no hint on the direction from the aerodrome or Shabunda City). Both crew received serious injuries and were evacuated for medical care, the aircraft was destroyed although no fire broke out.

Ground witnesses at Shabunda aerodrome saw the aircraft on final approach, landing lights on, suddenly descending rapidly and crashing into the ground.

Although the aircraft carried a flight data recorder, the FDR was found inoperative due to corrosion, the recording medium had been destroyed.

Due to the destruction of the aircraft it was not possible to determine failure(s) or malfunction(s) of aircraft systems.

Shabunda has no radio or navigation facilities, weather information can only be obtained through phone. The weather forecast was good. The aerodrome is located at position S2.6903 E27.3449 and features a gravel runway 11/29 of 1000 meters length and 40 meters width.

Editorial note: as the investigation never mentioned the actual accident site in relation to the aerodrome, even though the investigators undoubtedly must have been on scene (having produced one photo of the crashed aircraft and recovered the flight data recorder), we went back over all reports that were available in 2014 immediately after the accident. Local media had reported the aircraft had gone down about 2km (not 2nm) short of the runway at the right bank of the South Kivu River near a location named Itemene. In 2014 a search for the location came up entirely blank. Now, in 2020, the search was not going much better, however, in the end, we were able to find a UNO document mentioning a primary school Itemene. South Kivu's administration had published a list of all primary schools in their district with an underlaying black/white map, showing both the primary schools of Shabunda and Itemene, also showing a photo of the primary school of Itemene. With that information we were able to identify the position of the primary school Itemene at S2.7136 E27.3572, about 3km south of the aerodrome (which ties in with the distances between airport and the village of Itemene mentioned by UN documents). Both Itemene and the airport are located at the left bank of the South Kivu River. The location Itemene suggests the aircraft was approaching runway 29 and crash landed short of that runway before crossing the river into Shabunda. Satellite Images, traced back to before the accident in 2014 as well as after the accident in 2014, 2015 and 2016 did not reveal any hint as to the location of the aircraft, hence the conclusion based on the 2014 reports by local media and the identification of the primary school of Itemene of 2020, that the aircraft approached from the east to west, needs to remain unverified despite about 8 hours of work put into this research in 2020.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 25, 2014

Classification
Accident

Airline
Biega Air

Aircraft Registration
9Q-COT

Aircraft Type
Let L-410 Turbolet

ICAO Type Designator
L410

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