Narrative:A de Havilland Canada DHC-8-202Q turboprop airplane, registered N355PH, sustained substantial damage in a forced landing 30 km from Kolokani, Mali. All nine persons on board survived.
The airplane was assigned to the 524th Special Operations Squadron, 27th Special Operations Wing, U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command. It was used to conduct a passenger and cargo transportation sortie in support of United States Africa Command from Nouakchott Airport (NKC), Mauritania to Bamako Airport (BKO).
The crew had diplomatic clearance to on-load 4000 liters of fuel. Although two fuel trucks arrived, the pilots determined fuel was not necessary and the captain decided not to refuel.
The airplane departed at 12:29. At 13:41, 280 miles prior to Bamako, the crew began a descent out of FL250. At 14:35, 105 miles prior to Bamako, the crew leveled off at 6,000 ft. At 14:52, the crew diverted northeast to Kolokani, an airstrip 12 miles closer than Bamako. At 15:09, the #2 (right) engine shut down due to fuel exhaustion. At 15:14Z, 29 seconds prior to impact, the #1 (left) engine began to shut down due to fuel exhaustion. An forced landing was carried out. The right hand wing separated and the undercarriage collapsed. The airplane was a total loss with a cost estimate of $7,000,000.
Probable Cause:The Accident Investigation Board (AIB) President found by clear and convincing evidence that the cause of this mishap was the mishap aircraft running out of fuel due to the mishap aircraft commander’s and mishap copilot’s failure to properly fuel plan and then refuel the mishap aircraft at Nouakchott with a sufficient amount to reach their destination. Once airborne, despite indications of a fuel shortage, the mishap crew did not divert to a suitable alternate airport early enough in the sortie to avoid this mishap. The AIB President also found sufficient evidence to conclude the following factors substantially contributed to the mishap: insufficient mission and flight planning; faulty decision-making; complacency; task misprioritization; channelized attention; and the mishap crew pressing to meet mission demands.
Forced landing outside airport
» US AFRICOM statement
» USAF Accident Investigation Board (AIB) Executive Summary
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 Nouakchott Airport to Bamako Airport as the crow flies is 1051 km (657 miles).