Crew Contacted ATC And Reported That They Were Having A Problem Transferring Fuel From The Ferry Tanks

Location: Half Moon Bay, CA Accident Number: WPR23LA192
Date & Time: May 20, 2023, 14:00 Local Registration: N153QS
Aircraft: Viking Air Limited DHC-6-400 Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Ferry

On May 20, 2023, at about 1400 Pacific daylight time, a de Havilland DHC-6-400, N153QS, was substantially damaged when it impacted the Pacific Ocean near Half Moon Bay, California. The pilot and 1 passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 ferry flight. The U.S. Coast Guard responded to the accident site.

The operator reported that the airplane had a ferry tank system installed and 540 gallons of fuel was added for the transpacific flight. The airplane’s amphibious floats were removed for the flight. The flight departed the Charles M Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS), Santa Rosa, California, and was destined for Daniel K Inouye International Airport (HNL), Honolulu, Hawaii. After departure, satellite flight tracking data showed the airplane on a southwest heading over the ocean at an altitude of about 15,500 ft mean sea level (msl). About 4 hours into the flight, the crew contacted ATC and reported that they were having a problem transferring fuel from the ferry tanks and that they intended to return. About 356 miles from the California coast, the flight track reversed course to the northeast, towards STS. At 1145 time, the flight crew reported that they lost fuel pressure and an engine. The last few minutes of the data shows an altitude drop from about 3,600 to about 240 ft msl. The last track data point was about 33 miles off the California coast.

The U.S. Coast guard responded to the scene minutes after accident. The examination of the wreckage in the water revealed that the fuselage was inverted, and the wings and engines separated from the airplane. The horizontal stabilizer remained partially attached to the empennage and the forward fuselage had impact damage. Occupant and wreckage recovery was not performed.