Tristar A30B at Mogadishu on Oct 12th 2015, forced landing off airport
Last Update: October 28, 2015 / 14:04:50 GMT/Zulu time
The preliminary report states that the aircraft's zero fuel weight, according to load sheet, was 123,300 kg (maximum 126,000 kg) including a cargo load of 41,260 kg consisting of frozen food items packaged with dry ice. 41,000kg of fuel were on board on departure from Cairo, the takeoff mass was 164.230kg (maximum 165.000kg). The landing mass at Mogadishu was estimated at 133,280kg (maximum 134.000kg) with 10,000kg of fuel remaining upon arrival.
According to NOTAM A0018/15 issued on Jun 22nd 2015 for Mogadishu FIR Mogadishu's FIC, NOF/AIS and Telecom services were available 24 hours daily. For the aerodrome of Mogadishu NOTAM A0006/15 issued on Feb 27th 2015 was active in particular advising operators into Mogadishu to exercise extreme caution due to lack of aeronautical information and the armed conflict surrounding Somalia.
The operator had received the required permits to operate into Mogadishu. A ground handler at Mogadishu had been contracted and was advised that the aircraft would arrive on Oct 12th 2015 at 12:00L. The ground handler advised the operator that the aerodrome was closed from 18:00L to 06:00L "due to the security situation in Somalia and lack of runway lights."
The ground handler reported that due to delay on the departure airport (editorial note: in Oostende) the operator sent a request to extend the aerodrome operation by two hours, the ground handling company declined that request and advised the operator to have the aircraft arrive at the latest by 15:30L. At 12:52L the ground handler received an aircraft movement message indicating the aircraft was estimated to arrive at Mogadishu at 18:00L, all ground handling resources to receive the aircraft were thus ready by 17:48L. The ground handler reported that the aircraft made its first approach to Mogadishu at 18:25L and aborted the approach. As it was getting dark the ground handler brought a number of cars parking them by the aerodrome fences to illuminate the runway at both thresholds. Over the next 45 minutes three more approaches were attempted, Tower advised the crew to divert to their alternate aerodrome but received reply they were no longer able to divert, then the aircraft performed a fly by and disappeared at about 19:40L. Soon after reports were received that an aircraft had crashed in the outskirts of Mogadishu.
UNSOA, responsible for United Nations operations in Somalia, confirmed they "chartered the aircraft to bring in important stock to meet the requirements of the UNSOA mission". The items were frozen food packed on 39 pallets, that were packet in thermal boxes with dry ice and then wrapped into a thermal blanket. The aircraft departed Oostende at 04:50Z for Cairo, where the aircraft arrived at 09:00Z for a crew change and refueling. The aircraft departed Cairo after about 90 minutes on the ground and was estimated to reach Mogadishu at 17:30L (14:30Z), the aircraft however overflew the aerodrome at 18:05L and commenced its first approach at 18:15L, went around, made a number of more approaches, commenced a last approach but half way into that approach decided to divert for not having enough fuel and performed an emergency landing about 20km northwest of the aerodrome. UNSOA stated on Oct 15th 2015: "all food is still on the aircraft and subject to ambient temperatures. This would render the food unsafe to eat under UN rules for food safety". UNSOA issued authorization to destroy the food.
SAAIA reported that the aircraft departed Cairo at 10:45Z (13:45 Mogadishu Local Time) and was estimated to arrive in Mogadishu at 18:27L (15:27Z). The SAAIA stated: "Given to the current season, the official Mogadishu sunset time is 15:00Z (18:00 local) and the Mogadishu Airport operates only daylight hours, from sunrise to sunset. This means that the flight TSY810 arrived 27 minutes after the airport is closed".
The SAAIA summarized the captain's testimony stating, that the aircraft arrived overhead Mogadishu at 15:27Z with 9,500 kg of fuel remaining, joined a right hand downwind for runway 05 but went around on short final reporting the approach became unstable. During the go around the aerodrome was to their left and the ocean to their right, the aircraft joined another right hand downwind for runway 05 but when turning final they could not see the runway and went around a second time reporting they had 6000 kg of fuel left and could no longer divert. The controller instructed them to join another right hand downwind for runway 05, the crew refused as they were confused with the directions received from the controller, who repeatedly advised them the runway was to their right. Tower instructed them to go around another time (editorial note: the report does not mention that this third approach had been flown for runway 23), they were instructed for another approach to runway 05, 4000kg of fuel were remaining, the fourth approach to runway 05 failed leaving them with 2000kg of fuel remaining. Finally tower instructed them to turn far to the north for an extended downwind to runway 05, the crew advised they had just 400kg of fuel left, tower instructed them to not overfly the village, another voice appeared on the tower frequency attempting to assist the crew, an engine flamed out, 200kg of fuel remaining, the second engine flamed out and the crew put the aircraft down on the next visible free spot.
The SAAIA summarized the testimony of the on duty controller stating "Mogadishu aerodrome control tower only provides advisory service to aircraft taking off, landing or flying within the vicinity of the airport." When the controller received the estimated time of arrival for TSY810 from the Flight Information Center (FIC) Nairobi he advised FIC Nairobi (Kenya) that Mogadishu Airport was closed at the estimated time of arrival and advised the crew should divert to their alternate aerodrome but received no feedback. At 14:45Z the tower received first communication from the crew advising they would be overhead the aerodrome at 15:02Z, the controller advised again that the aerodrome would already be closed by then, the crew insisted however that they would land. Tower provided the necessary landing information like weather and active runway. At 15:02Z there was no sight of the aircraft, tower queried with the crew who reported still being 54nm out and revised their estimated time of arrival. At 15:27Z the aircraft turned final for runway 05, tower advised the crew to land at own discretion as tower's "instructions were only advisory and not clearance". The controller added that the approach was aborted and all subsequent approaches were unsuccessful too. "At one point the pilot mistook street parallel to the runway lighted by flood lights with intention of landing but was alerted the runway was on his right and the approach was discontinued." At about 19:40L the controller received information from AMISOM the aircraft had crashed.
The SAAIA reasoned that the aircraft would have needed to depart Cairo by 10:18Z in order to arrive in Mogadishu before closure of the airport. The actual departure time at 10:45Z thus caused the aircraft to arrive 27 minutes past closure of the airport. The SAAIA argued, "Mogadishu has no operating runway lights or precision approaches. Moreover, the aircraft did not have an alternate fuel which the crew intentionally substituted for payload for commercial gain and their 45 minutes reserve was depleted by their failed landing attempts. This led to flight TSY810 run out of fuel and has to crash land in an open field outskirt of Mogadishu near Arbiska."
The SAAIA added: "According to eye witness, it looks the pilot mistakenly tried to land on Parallel Street to the left of runway 05 as he was confused with the lights along the street. This street is inside the airport compound, it passes between control tower building and apron."
The SAAIA stated that the airport of Mogadishu had been operationally restricted by NOTAMs issued prior to the accident, e.g. A0006/15, A0008/15, that had been issued by Flight Information Service for Somalia in Nairobi (Kenya) managing Somalia's Air Space. On several occasions Somalia's Civil Aviation and Meteorology Authority (SCAMA) requested those restrictions to be eased by issuing a replacement NOTAM, this NOTAM however was delayed until Oct 15th 2015. "This means that the Mogadishu airport was internationally closed to operations related civil passenger aircraft until the NOTAM (MKA0041) A0037/15 was stipulated on 15/10/2015, which specifies the hours of operation of the airport from 06:15 local (03:15Z0) to 18:00 local (15:00Z)." (Editorial note: Turkish Airlines, East African Safari Air and African Express operated regular scheduled passenger flights into Mogadishu on Oct 12th 2015). The SAAIA continued a few sentences later: "Furthermore, why this release coincides with the event of this accident? It is believed that if this latest NOTAM was available to the crew of the flight TSY810 prior to departure, it would have a major impact on the pilot's decision to depart Cairo for Mogadishu at such late time."
The SAAIA further stated that according to the report by the crew they were receiving transmissions from stations other than Mogadishu Aerodrome Tower, "which if true complicates the matter further. Numerous occasions in the past, similiar complains about other stations interfering the frequency designated for exchange of information between pilots and the controller has been filed by Tower controller."
The SAAIA stated: "The airspace under the responsibility of Mogadishu Aerodrome Tower is classified as Class G airspace, where Air Traffic Controller (ATC) has no authority or responsibility to control air traffic. Mogadishu aerodrome controller provides an advisory information on the position and, if known, intentions of other aircraft likely to pose a hazard to flight."
The SAAIA finished the preliminary report: "The Black Box, Voice recorder and other documents safely recovered from the wreckage will pave the way for further investigation to substantiate facts involving the accident. This investigation is ongoing and final report will be released on conclusion."
This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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