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Last updated: 19 November 2018
Status:Final
Date:Monday 22 May 1989
Time:13:50
Type:Silhouette image of generic BN2P model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
PADC/Pilatus Britten-Norman BN-2A-26 Islander
Operator:Cockatoo Island Airways
Registration: VH-BSN
C/n / msn: 3005
First flight: 1981-07-15 (7 years 10 months)
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:56 km (35 mls) NW off Derby, WA (   Australia)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Cockatoo Island Airport, WA (YCTI), Australia
Destination airport:Derby Airport, WA (DRB/YDBY), Australia
Narrative:
The pilot of a chartered BN-2A-26 Islander had planned the direct track for the flight from Cockatoo Island to Derby, Australia at 5500 feet above sea level.
When the pilot gave his departure call he amended his cruising level to below 5000 feet. No further calls were received from the aircraft. The Cockatoo Island work boat was 56 kilometres north-north-west of Derby, and approximately 20 kilometres west of the direct track between Cockatoo Island and Derby. The crew of the boat observed an aircraft approaching at very low level. The aircraft passed over the boat approximately 5-7 metres above the deck, and entered a right hand turn. During the turn the right wing tip struck the water causing the aircraft to cartwheel and crash about 400 metres from the boat. The fuselage broke open on impact and the occupants were subsequently rescued by the crew of the boat. The pilot declined to provide any information which might have clarified the circumstances of the accident, however, available information indicates that he carried out an unauthorized low pass over the boat. During the turn following the low pass, he misjudged the aircraft's height and the right wing tip struck the water.

Probable Cause:

Significant Factors:
1. The pilot was neither trained nor authorized to conduct operations at low level.
2. The pilot exercised poor judgement by operating at an unnecessarily low height.
3. The pilot misjudged his height above the water.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: BASI
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 11 months
Accident number: 198900237
Download report: Summary report

Classification:

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Water

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Map
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 Cockatoo Island Airport, WA to Derby Airport, WA as the crow flies is 143 km (89 miles).
Accident location: Global; accuracy within tens or hundreds of kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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