Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Cargo plane was overloaded with cigarettes, says preliminary report

A preliminary report into the Air Niugini cargo plane accident of Oct 19, 2013, in Madang reveals it was loaded with 330 cartons of cigarettes belonging to British American Tobacco which had not been weighed before they were loaded onto the aircraft.

P2-PXY where it came to rest in the creek.-Pictures courtesy of Accident Investigation Commission.
Aerial view of PXY and runway 07/25 in Madang.

Aerial view of PXY and ground witness marks.

 The aircraft later failed to take off and ran off the runway, based on an assumption that the total load was 3, 710kg, according to the PNG Accident Commission preliminary report released last month,
“The operator’s cargo supervisor started after the accident that PXY had been loaded on the assumption that each carton weighed 12kg, but that the cartons had not been weighed before they were loaded onto the aircraft,” the report said.
The Avions de Transport Regional ATR42-320 freighter, registered P2-PXY, was taxiing to depart from the runway bound for Tabubil, via Mt Hagen, when the accident occurred.
There were three people on board, the pilot-in-command, first officer, and a DHC-8 captain on board whose function was to provide guidance during the approach into Tabubil.
The report said the pilot-in-command reported later that the controls felt very heavy in pitch and he could not pull the control column back in the normal manner.
“Flight data recorder information indicated that after approximately two seconds, the pilot-in-command aborted the takeoff and selected full reverse thrust, and he reported later that he had applied full braking,” it said.
“It was not possible to stop the aircraft before the end of the runway and it continued over the embankment at the end of the runway and the right wing struck the perimeter fence.
“This caused the aircraft to yaw to the right and it entered a creek beyond the perimeter fence at approximately 45 degrees to its direction of movement.
“The right outboard wing section caught fire and the flight crew escaped through the hatch in the cockpit roof.
“The pilot-in-command, who was the last to remain on board, discharged the fire extinguishers in each engine and switched off the battery master switch before leaving the aircraft.
“The Madang Airport Fire and Rescue Service responded promptly and a fire truck began to spray the fire in the right wing with foam and water.
“The foam and water were exhausted before the fire was full extinguished but the fire did not spread to the right inboard wing section.
“Almost immediately after the accident, local people entered the aircraft through the hatch in the cockpit roof and the right door at the rear of the fuselage and began removing items from the cockpit and the cargo compartment.
“The aircraft was seriously damaged during the accident by the impact with the airport perimeter fence, the fire and partial immersion in salt water, and subsequently by the salvage operation during which it was lifted out of the creek and moved to a position on the airfield.”

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