Accident description
Last updated: 24 November 2014
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 7 January 1997
Time:10:38
Type:Silhouette image of generic DHC6 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300
Operator:Polynesian Airlines
Registration: 5W-FAU
C/n / msn: 678
First flight: 1980
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 3
Total:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 5
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:4 km (2.5 mls) SW of Apia-Fagali'i Airport (FGI) (   Samoa) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Pago Pago International Airport (PPG/NSTU), American Samoa
Destination airport:Apia-Fagali'i Airport (FGI/NSFI), Samoa
Flightnumber: 211
Narrative:
A de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 passenger plane sustained substantial damage in an accident on Mount Vaea, Samoa. Two of the three passengers and one of the two pilots were killed.
Polynesian Airlines flight 211 had departed Pago Pago (PPG), American Samoa on a scheduled service to Apia-Fagali'i Airport (FGI), Samoa. Due to bad weather at it's destination, the aircraft diverted to Faleolo Airport. An instrument approach was flown, but the flight was not able to land. The captain decided to continue in a westerly direction towards Fagali'i Airport. He flew by visual reference in conditions of low cloud and heavy rain.
The airplane flew into the western slope of Mount Vaea, coming to rest on the slope with both wings separated.


The following causal factors were identified:
* The decision by the captain to continue the flight toward Fagali'i in reduced visibility and subsequently in cloud.
* Mis-identification of ground features, or an inappropriate heading and altitude flown, as a result of inadequate visual reference.
* Insufficient forward visibility to ensure effective and timely action to avoid a collision with terrain.

Sources:
» FAA
» Reuters
» Samoa Observer
» TAIC NZ


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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 Pago Pago International Airport to Apia-Fagali'i Airport as the crow flies is 123 km (77 miles).

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