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Accident description
Last updated: 12 December 2017
Date:Thursday 15 September 1988
Type:Silhouette image of generic B732 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-260
Operator:Ethiopian Airlines
Registration: ET-AJA
C/n / msn: 23914/1456
First flight: 1987-10-02 (1 years)
Total airframe hrs:1377
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17A
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 35 / Occupants: 98
Total:Fatalities: 35 / Occupants: 104
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:10 km (6.3 mls) SW of Bahar Dar Airport (BJR) (   Ethiopia)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Bahar Dar Airport (BJR/HABD), Ethiopia
Destination airport:Asmara International Airport (ASM/HAAY), Eritrea
Flightnumber: 604
During takeoff, just past VR, at a speed of 146 knots, the 737 collided with a flock of pigeons (Columba Guinea). Both engines ingested a number of birds, which resulted in a rise in engine temperature on climbout and the engines backfiring at 100-200 feet. The crew made a right turn to return to airport with the EGT readings at the top extreme. On base leg at 7100 feet amsl with 190 knots, both Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17A engines backfired & flamed out.
A wheels-up crash-landing was made. The aircraft caught fire.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: " The accident occurred because the airplane could not be safely returned to the runway after the internal destruction and subsequent failure of both engines to operate arising from multiple bird ingestion by both engines during take-off."

Bird strike
All engine powerloss
Forced landing outside airport

» Focus on commercial aviation safety - issue 19 (summer 1995)
» ICAO Circular 260-AN154 (52-87)


photo of Boeing 737-260 ET-AJA
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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 Bahar Dar Airport to Asmara International Airport as the crow flies is 442 km (276 miles).
Accident location: Global; accuracy within tens or hundreds of kilometers.

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