Narrative:An ATR-72-212 passenger plane, registration CU-T1549, was destroyed in an accident near Guasimal, Sancti Spiritus Province, Cuba. All 68 on board were killed. The airplane operated on Aerocaribbean Flight 883 from Port-au-Prince Airport (PAP), Haiti to Santiago-Antonio Maceo Airport (SCU), Cuba and Havana-José Martí International Airport (HAV). It took off from Santiago at 16:44 and climbed to a cruising altitude of FL180. At 17:36 the crew contacted Havana Control, requesting permission to climb to FL200.
During the climb the Total Air Temperature (TAT) dropped from +3°C to -1°C. The airspeed dropped from 196 kts to 176 kts.
At 17:44, at FL200, the ICING caution light illuminated on the instrument panel with an associated chime. This was followed by the illumination of the AOA light several seconds later. At 17:46 the crew toggled the anti-icing switches on the overhead panel and contacted Havana Control to request permission to descent to FL160 due to icing.
However, the controller reported conflicting traffic 30 miles ahead. The crew then requested vectors to enable them to descend. Clearance was given to change course from 295° to 330°. At 17:49, with an airspeed of 156 kts, the airplane commenced a right bank. Then suddenly the airplane banked left and right before banking 90° to the left again with a steep nose down attitude. The crew struggled to control the plane, which was banking turning and losing altitude. At 17:51:03 the airplane struck mountainous terrain.
After a six-week investigation, civil aviation officials concluded that "the flight was proceeding normally until it found itself in extreme meteorological conditions that caused the airplane to ice up severely at an altitude of 20,000ft (6,100m). This, in conjunction with errors by the crew in managing the situation, caused the accident."
Loss of control
» Cuba says all 68 on board died in plane crash
» ATR Statement
EC-HBU was bought from Continental Express in 1995; it was sold to Aero Caribbean as CU-T1549 in October 2006
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 Santiago-Antonio Maceo Airport to Havana-José Martí International Airport as the crow flies is 754 km (471 miles).
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.