16 Years ago today: On 10 December 2005 a Sosoliso Airlines DC-9-32 crashed at Port Harcourt, Nigeria, killing 108. Just one passenger survived.
|Date:||Saturday 10 December 2005|
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32
|Total airframe hrs:||51051|
|Engines:||2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 101 / Occupants: 103|
|Total:||Fatalities: 108 / Occupants: 110|
|Aircraft fate:||Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||Port Harcourt Airport (PHC) ( Nigeria)|
|Crash site elevation:||27 m (89 feet) amsl|
|Nature:||Domestic Scheduled Passenger|
|Departure airport:||Abuja International Airport (ABV/DNAA), Nigeria|
|Destination airport:||Port Harcourt Airport (PHC/DNPO), Nigeria|
Sosoliso Airlines flight 1145 was scheduled to depart Abuja (ABV) for Port Harcourt (PHC) at 10:00, but the flight was delayed to 13:26. At 13:41 the flight contacted Port Harcourt while maintaining FL240. The approach controller then gave the flight an in-bound clearance for an ILS approach to runway 21.
About 13:50, the crew contacted Approach Control for initial descent clearance and was cleared down to FL160. The aircraft continued its descent until about 14:00 hours when the crew asked Approach Control whether it was raining to which the controller reported negative rain but scattered CB and the crew acknowledged.
At 14:04, the crew reported established on the glide slope and the localizer at 8 nautical miles to touch down. Then the Approach controller informed the aircraft of precipitation approaching the airport from the direction of runway 21 and passed the aircraft to the Tower controller for landing instructions.
The flight contacted Port Harcourt Tower and reported established on glide slope and localizer at 6 nautical miles to touch down. The controller then cleared the airplane to land on runway 21 but to exercise caution as the runway surface was slightly wet and the pilot acknowledged. On final approach, the flight encountered adverse weather with wind speed and direction changing from 220 deg/09 kts to 360 deg/05 kts.
Although the runway was not in sight, the crew continued their descent below Decision Altitude. The crew initiated a go-around below the altitude of 204ft, which is 103ft below the Decision Altitude; the attempt of which was not
successful. The aircraft continued until the tail section contacted the grass area between runway 21 and a taxiway, 70 metres to the left of the runway edge and 540 metres from the runway threshold. Some 60 m further on, the rear fuselage impacted an exposed concrete drainage culvert. The no. 2 engine was sheared off and the rear airstair broke away from the fuselage. The aircraft disintegrated and caught fire, skidding for another 790 m. The cockpit section with the forward fuselage was found a further 330 m from the rest of the wreckage trail on the taxiway, giving a total wreckage distance of 1120 m.
PROBABLE CAUSE: “The probable cause of the accident was the crew’s decision to continue the approach beyond the Decision Altitude without having the runway and/or airport in sight.
The contributory factors were:
1. The crew’s delayed decision to carry out a missed approach and the application of improper procedure while executing the go-around.
2. The aircraft encountered adverse weather conditions with the ingredients of wind shear activity on approach.
3. The reducing visibility in thunderstorm and rain as at the time the aircraft came in to land was also a contributory factor to the accident. And the fact the airfield lightings were not on may also have impaired the pilot from sighting the runway.
4. Another contributory factor was the fact that the aircraft had an impact with the exposed drainage concrete culvert which led to its disintegration and subsequent fire outbreak.”