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Accident description
Last updated: 14 December 2017
Status:Final
Date:Saturday 24 March 2001
Time:16:28
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:Air Caraïbes
Registration: F-OGES
C/n / msn: 254
First flight: 1969
Total airframe hrs:35680
Cycles:89331
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 17
Total:Fatalities: 19 / Occupants: 19
Ground casualties:Fatalities: 1
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Saint-Barthélémy (   Guadeloupe)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Sint Maarten-Juliana Airport (SXM/TNCM), Sint Maarten
Destination airport:Saint-Barthélémy Airport (SBH/TFFJ), Guadeloupe
Flightnumber:1501
Narrative:
The Twin Otter plane was on a 10-minute inter island flight between St. Maarten and Saint-Barthélémy and approached Saint-Barthélémy from the West for a visual approach and landing on runway 10. While on finals over the 'Col de la Tourmente', the aircraft was seen making a sharp turn to the left. The Twin Otter struck a house on the 'Col de la Tourmente' and caught fire. A man on the ground was also killed and his wife was injured. While on finals the captain probably
selected "beta reverse range" on the propellers in order to slow down. Upon vigorously pushing back the power levers to their normal position, an asymmetric power condition developed. The Twin Otter rolled to the left and crashed.
Saint-Barthélémy is known for the difficult approach to the airport and pilots flying into Saint-Barthélémy need to have a special certification. After overflying 'Col de la Tourmente' a quick steep descent has to be made to land at runway 10, a 2100 feet runway which ends up in sea. The aircraft overfly the 'Col de la Tourmente' at a height of 10 m or less.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSES: "The accident appears to result from the Captain's use of the propellers in the reverse beta range, to improve control of his track on short final. A strong thrust asymmetry at the moment when coming out of the reverse beta range would have caused the loss of yaw control, then roll control of the aircraft.
The investigation could not exclude three other hypotheses which can nevertheless be classified as quite unlikely:
- A loss of control during a go-around.
- A loss of control due to a stall.
- A loss of control due to sudden incapacitation of one of the pilots.
The Captain's lack of recent experience on this airplane type, the undeniable difficulty of conducting an approach to runway 10 at Saint-Barthélemy and the pressure of time during this flight were contributory factors. The low height at which the loss of control occurred was an aggravating factor."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: BEA
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: BEA F-ES010324
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Loss of control

Sources:
» SKYbrary 
» AP
» BEA (Bureau Enquetes-Accidents)
» Reuters


Follow-up / safety actions
The BEA recommended the French DGAC and European JAA to demand the installation of flight recorders on aircraft capable of carrying 9 or more passengers with an MTOW of 5700kg or less.

Photos

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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 Sint Maarten-Juliana Airport to Saint-Barthélémy Airport as the crow flies is 32 km (20 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

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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DHC-6 Twin Otter

  • 930+ built
  • 221st loss
  • 146th fatal accident
  • 9th worst accident (at the time)
  • 11th worst accident (currently)
» safety profile

 Guadeloupe
  • 3rd worst accident
» safety profile