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Last updated: 22 February 2019
Date:Wednesday 10 October 2001
Type:Silhouette image of generic SW4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Swearingen SA226-AT Merlin IVA
Registration: EC-GDV
C/n / msn: AT-043
First flight: 1976
Total airframe hrs:11950
Engines: 2 Garrett TPE331-10UA-511G
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 8
Total:Fatalities: 10 / Occupants: 10
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:18,5 km (11.6 mls) NW off Columbretes Islands [Mediterranean Sea] (   Spain)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN/LEBL), Spain
Destination airport:Oran-es Senia Airport (ORN/DAOO), Algeria
Flightnumber: 101
Flight 101 departed Barcelona at 10:18 on an IFR flight across the Mediterranean Sea to Orán, Algeria. The airplane was supposed to follow the Spanish coast line to Valencia and Alicante before heading over the Mediterranean. Because of an electrical storm with heavy rainfall on the planned route, the crew requested permission to deviate to the left, to move away from the storm. Permission was granted but the airplane nevertheless entered an area with severe turbulence and rain. Electrical power was presumably lost following a lightning strike. Control was lost and the airplane crashed into the sea.

Probable Cause:

CAUSAS: "Aunque no han podido determinarse las causas del accidente, teniendo en cuenta las circunstancias en que se produjo y los antecedentes de sucesos similares en aeronaves del mismo tipo, se considera como causa probable del accidente una pérdida total del suministro eléctrico, provocada por el impacto de un rayo en medio de la tormenta en la que estaba volando, sin que la tripulación consiguiera recuperarlo.

Es posible que el impacto del rayo produjera otros daños a la aeronave y/o pudiera inducir o producir fallos en otros sistemas de la misma. El conjunto de estas circunstancias, agravado por la tormenta indicada, con fuertes lluvias y turbulencias y la falta de visibilidad asociada, condujo al impacto de la aeronave contra el mar."

PROBABLE CAUSE (translation of the official Spanish text): "Although the causes of the accident could not be determined, considering the circumstances in which it occurred and the history of similar events with aircraft of the same type, is considered that the probable cause of the accident was a total loss of the electrical system, caused by a lightning strike in the middle of the storm in which it was flying, without the crew being able to recover.
It is possible that the lightning strike produced other damages to the airplane and/or could have induced or produced failures in other systems of the airplane. The set of these circumstances, aggravated by the storm, with strong rains and turbulence and the associated lack of visibility, lead to the impact of the airplane with the sea."


Loss of control



photo of Swearingen SA.226AT Merlin IVA EC-GDV
photo of Swearingen SA.226AT Merlin IVA EC-GDV
photo of Swearingen SA.226AT Merlin IVA EC-GDV
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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 Barcelona-El Prat Airport to Oran-es Senia Airport as the crow flies is 668 km (418 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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