Trans Maldivian DHC6 at Rangali on Jul 9th 2012, float collapsed
Last Update: May 7, 2020 / 20:57:59 GMT/Zulu time
Maldives Civil Aviation Authority confirmed 8Q-TMT received substantial structural damage in the accident while "trying to park the aircraft". No injuries occurred. Maldivian Accident Investigation Coordinating Committe (AICC) is investigating the accident.
A ground observer reported the aircraft was taxiing towards the pier in rough sea when the left hand propeller struck the pier causing the left hand float to collapse and the aircraft to capsize.
In 2020 a reader pointed out the Maldivian AICC had released their final report dated Aug 16th 2012. The report concludes the probable causes of the accident were:
Pilot in Command's miss judgement of wind condition and its effect during docking procedure resulting in the aircraft colliding with the docking platform at a very high speed. Major contributing factor was high tail winds and adverse weather condition prevailing at the time of accident.
The AICC described the sequence of events:
According to the meteorological report from Maldives Meteorological Service for Male’ and Ari Atoll on 9th July 2012 from 1200 – 1500 hrs surface winds were generally from North-West at an average speed of 15 miles per hour. However, thunderstorms were prevailing over Ari Atoll and Male’ region throughout the day. Ari Atoll, Maamingili Control Tower recorded winds of 42 knots.
During the flight the weather was deteriorating with strong winds from westerly direction. According to the crew it was very strong winds approximately 40 to 45 knots. Aircraft landed safely and the Captain took over controls as a normal procedure and taxied through the channel for docking at the fixed platform attached to the main jetty.
Since it was a fixed platform Crew had difficulty docking the aircraft in strong tailwind and swells. At the first attempt to dock the aircraft ended up forward of the platform which made the crew to abort docking. On the second attempt to dock, captain applied full reverse and right rudder while the co-pilot applied opposite aileron to overcome the strong winds as the aircraft approached the fixed platform.
However, the aircraft moved forward and hit the platform hard and the cabin crew, who was at his station on the LH float, was flung in to the water. On impact with the platform the LH float attachments were sheared and the LH propeller blades struck the platform surface while the RH float lifted up and struck the RH propeller. The Captain reported cutting off the fuel at the first impact. The aircraft started turning, pivoting at its nose near the platform then started drifting away due to the strong winds and swells.
Immediately after the impact water started seeping inside the aircraft. The Captain attempted to secure the aircraft and the copilot was attempting to facilitate evacuation of the passengers. Cabin crew swam to the aircraft and joined the crew in the evacuation process. All the passengers and crew were able toevacuate the aircraft before the fuselage was fully submerged.
The AICC analysed:
The severity of the impact made the aircraft LH float detach from the fuselage and puncture fuselage causing the aircraft to submerge in the rough water. All observed damages throughout the aircraft structure and floats were the result of impact and/or salvage cuts; therefore no indication of structural failure before the impact.
Operating Environment and Pilots Decision Making The weather conditions at the point of departure (MLE) were appropriate for the flight. The exact weather for the destination point (CON) was unknown as the water aerodromes are not installed with equipments to provide weather information. However, TMA dispatch and pilots have the practice in receiving information from other aircraft available in that area or sometimes by directly calling to destination. The captain was qualified and had the required experience.
The platform is a jetty attached platform where most pilots use only the front of the platform for docking as it gives more space and convenient for passengers. However, some pilots have reported the difficulty in using attached platforms in adverse weather conditions or high tail winds. The resort is a high-end tourist resort and had no other optional floating platforms as the resort requires having the platform attached to avoid boat transfers. There are two mooring buoys which are normally used for night shutdowns only.
Even with the high wind and an on-setting thunder storm, captain decided to dock the aircraft considering that would be the safest option for the passengers. The captain's first attempt to dock the aircraft failed due to the high tail wind and the aircraft was manoeuvred away from the platform. A second attempt was made to dock the aircraft while the storm was getting even stronger. To overcome the high (westerly) tail wind captain applied full right rudder while the co-pilot was assisting with the flight controls to overcome the effects of strong tail wind. At about 10 feet from the platform captain applied full engine reverse to control the aircraft and dock; but the excessive speed due to the strong tail wind pushed the aircraft forward uncontrolled, resulting the aircraft to hit the platform at high speed.
This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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