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Accident description
Last updated: 14 December 2017
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 26 June 2003
Time:ca 19:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic C208 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan
Operator:Comav Aviation
Registration: V5-CAS
C/n / msn: 208B-0549
First flight: 1996
Engines: 1 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-114A
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Total:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:near Rooisand Desert Ranch (   Namibia)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Ambulance
Departure airport:Rooisand Desert Ranch, Namibia
Destination airport:?
Narrative:
Cessna Caravan V5-CAS was called in by International SOS to transport a South African car accident survivor. The Caravan with a pilot and two paramedics on board arrived at the Rooisand Desert Ranch air strip, 15 minutes before sunset. While waiting for the paramedics to help and secure the patient, the pilot sketched a map of the area. Because it was dark by the time the plane was ready for takeoff, the pilot asked people to park their cars near the runway, with their lights on, and said he would circle the runway two or three times to gain altitude. Shortly after taking off, westbound with a tailwind of between 10 and 12 knots, the aircraft turned right towards a hill that was 848 feet (258 metres) higher than the end of the runway. The aircraft had flown about 4,8 km far towards that hill when it banked steeply to the left and headed back to the south-east. The Caravan then descended 627 feet (191 metres) until it crashed into the side of a hill, only 17 metres from the top of the hill.

Probable Cause:

Controlled flight into terrain. Contributing factors were "poor ground and sky illumination" and "the pilot's difficulty in seeing the instrument panel without his glasses".

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» Air International (October 2003, p.19)
» Rooisand Air Crash Probe Implies Pilot Error to Blame for 4 Deaths (The Namibian - December 22, 2003)


Follow-up / safety actions
A.o. the following recommendations were issued:
* Night-time medical evacuations from airfields not equipped for night flying, in which the pilot would have to rely on the aircraft's instruments, should be limited to cases where a patient's life is in danger, and a co-pilot should also be present;
* Pilots who have to wear corrective glasses should do so for all flights; and
* Take-offs at night with a tailwind or towards major obstacles should be avoided where possible.

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