Narrative:The aircraft attained a nose-high attitude after take-off and started to roll left and right. The aircraft pitched down and up and rolled left and right again while losing altitude. The plane struck the ground about 5500 feet from the runway end and 792 feet right of the extended centerline in a right-wing-down attitude. It appeared that the aircraft had been overloaded by 1060 pounds and that the center of gravity (CG) was 8 inches beyond the maximum rear limit.
|Date:||Tuesday 24 July 1979|
|Type:||de Havilland DH-114 Heron 2D|
|C/n / msn:|| 14125|
|First flight:|| 1957|
|Total airframe hrs:||23045|
|Engines:|| 4 Continental IO-520E|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 19|
|Total:||Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 21 |
|Airplane damage:|| Written off|
|Airplane fate:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||Saint Croix-Alexander Hamilton Airport (STX) (U.S. Virgin Islands)
|Phase:|| Takeoff (TOF)|
|Nature:||International Scheduled Passenger|
|Departure airport:||Saint Croix-Alexander Hamilton Airport (STX/TISX), U.S. Virgin Islands|
|Destination airport:||Saint Kitts-Golden Rock Airport (SKB/TKPK), St. Kitts and Nevis|
The exact identity of this aircraft is uncertain. Prinair Heron N563PR which crashed 5 March 1969 killing all 19 on board was quoted by the NTSB report AAR-70-09 as well as Heron production lists to be c/n 14125. Strangely enough NTSB report NTSB-AAR-80-3 also explicitly states the identity of N575PR being c/n 14125. Also, N575PR / c/n 14125 was still current in the FAA aircraft register in 2004. Probably the identity papers of the real c/n 14125 (N563PR) were used together with another airframe. Possibilities: N557PR (c/n 14077) or N565PR (c/n 14116).
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's loss of control of the aircraft after take-off because of the aircraft's grossly overweight and out-of-balance condition which resulted from misloading by the company's load control personnel. The misloading was due to the failure of the company to supervise and to enforce its loading procedures. The Safety Board also determines that inadequate surveillance and enforcement by the FAA were causal factors in this accident."
Official accident investigation report
|investigating agency: ||National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB) - USA |
|report status: ||Final|
|report number: ||NTSB/AAR-80-03|
|duration of investigation:||248 days (8.3 months)|
|download report: ||
Puerto Rico International Airlines, Inc., (PRINAIR), DeHavilland Heron, DH-114, N575PR, Alexander Hamilton, Arpt., St. Croix, VI July 24, 1979.
Follow-up / safety actions
The FAA issued an emergency order of suspension, grounding Prinair. FAA investigations revealed many FAR violations (instances were the total weight was not contained on the load manifest, failure to comply with an Airworthiness Directives, failure to maintain records regarding total time in service for 14 airframes etc.)
NTSB issued 3 Safety Recommendations
Show all AD's and Safety Recommendations
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Saint Croix-Alexander Hamilton Airport to Saint Kitts-Golden Rock Airport as the crow flies is 224 km (140 miles).