Narrative:A Merpati Nusantara Airlines DHC-6 Twin Otter passenger plane was destroyed when it flew into the side of a mountain during a domestic flight from Jayapura (DJJ) to Oksibil Airport (OKL). Merpati Flight MZ9760D took off at 10:15 with an estimated time of arrival at Oksibil of 11:05. The pilots were operating under visual flight rules (VFR) procedures. This required them to remain clear of cloud. Ten minutes before impact the pilot in command mentioned climbing to 10,000 feet, and stated "if we cannot go visual I will turn left". The cockpit conversations did not exhibit any signs of stress or concern until two minutes before the impact, when the copilot mentioned haze and asked the captain if he could see. Fifty seconds before impact, the copilot expressed further concern and asked about the captain's intentions, and the captain said "climb, to the left". Forty-two seconds before impact the copilot asked if it was safe on the left.
The copilot became increasingly uncertain about the safety of the flight, specifically mentioning visibility and speed. From the recorded sounds, it is apparent that 13 seconds before impact, engine power was increased symmetrically to a high power setting. The Twin Otter struck the side of a mountain at an elevation of 9300 feet.
The wreckage was located August 4 with some difficulty because the ELT was unserviceable.
CAUSES: "The pilots did not maintain visual flight procedures when flying below lowest safe altitude, and the aircraft was flown into cloud in the vicinity of gap north west of Oksibil. The accident was consistent with controlled flight into terrain."
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain
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Official accident investigation report
Follow-up / safety actions
|30 MAY 1979
||de Havilland Canada
|21 JUN 1979
|21 AUG 1984
|23 OCT 1986
|19 DEC 1986
|10 NOV 2006
||Merpati Nusantara Airlines
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 Jayapura-Sentani Airport to Oksibil Airport as the crow flies is 258 km (161 miles).