Accident description
Last updated: 26 October 2014
Status:Final
Date:Saturday 5 May 2007
Time:00:08
Type:Silhouette image of generic B738 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-8AL
Operator:Kenya Airways
Registration: 5Y-KYA
C/n / msn: 35069/2079
First flight: 2006-10-09 (7 months)
Total airframe hrs:2100
Cycles:734
Engines: 2 CFMI CFM56-7B26
Crew:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 108 / Occupants: 108
Total:Fatalities: 114 / Occupants: 114
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:5,5 km (3.4 mls) SE of Douala Airport (DLA) (   Cameroon) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Douala Airport (DLA/FKKD), Cameroon
Destination airport:Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO/HKJK), Kenya
Flightnumber: 507
Narrative:
A Boeing 737-8AL passenger plane, registered 5Y-KYA, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Douala Airport (DLA), Cameroon. All 108 passengers and six crew members were killed in the accident.
The airplane was operated by Kenya Airways as flight KQ507 from Abidjan Airport (ABJ), Ivory Coast to Nairobi (NBO) via Douala (DLA), Cameroon. The flight from Abidjan to Douala was reportedly conducted without incident.
The Boeing 737-800 arrived at about 22:00, May 4. The scheduled departure time of 23:00 was delayed due to weather which consisted of thunderstorms with heavy rain showers. When the weather improved, Flight 507 taxied to runway 12. The flight took off and climbed into the dark night. There were no external visual references, yet no instrument scanning was done by the crew. At 1000 feet climbing, the pilot flying released the flight controls for 55 seconds without having engaged the autopilot. The bank angle of the airplane increased continuously by itself very slowly up to 34 degrees right and the captain appears unaware of the airplane’s changing attitude.
Just before the "Bank Angle" warning sounds, the captain grabbed the controls, appeared confused about the attitude of the airplane, and made corrections in an erratic manner increasing the bank angle to 50 degrees right.
At about 50 degrees bank angle, the autopilot is engaged and the inclination tends to stabilize; then movements of the flight controls by the pilot resume and the bank angle increases towards 70 degrees right. A prolonged right rudder input brought the bank angle to beyond 90 degrees. The airplane descended in a spiral dive and crashed into a mangrove swamp.


PROBABLE CAUSE: "The airplane crashed after loss of control by the crew as a result of spatial disorientation (non recognized or subtle type transitioning to recognized spatial disorientation), after a long slow roll, during which no instrument scanning was done, and in the absence of external visual references in a dark night.
Inadequate operational control, lack of crew coordination, coupled with the non-adherence to procedures of flight monitoring, confusion in the utilization of the AP, have also contributed to cause this situation."

Classification:
Loss of control

Sources:
» Kenya Airways press release
» Kenya Airways plane crashes in Cameroon: radio (AP, 5-5-2007)
» Reconstructing the last moments of Kenya Airways Flight 507 (AP, 12-5-2007)
» Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority press release


Photos

photo of Boeing 737-8AL 5Y-KYA
5Y-KYA seen on delivery as flight KQ101F
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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 Douala Airport to Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as the crow flies is 3066 km (1916 miles).

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Boeing 737-800

  • 2nd loss
  • 1513+ built
  • 2nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 3rd worst accident (currently)
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 Cameroon
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