ASN Aircraft accident Beechcraft 1900C-1 ZS-PHL São Tomé Island Airport (TMS)
ASN logo
Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Sunday 7 April 2013
Time:16:13 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic B190 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft 1900C-1
Operating for:Group Transair
Leased from:Sahel Aviation Service
Registration: ZS-PHL
MSN: UC-74
First flight: 1989
Total airframe hrs:23388
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65B
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Aircraft damage: Missing
Aircraft fate: Presumed damaged beyond repair
Location:14,5 km (9.1 mls) off São Tomé Island Airport (TMS) (   São Tomé and Príncipe)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Departure airport:Ondangwa Airport (OND/FYOA), Namibia
Destination airport:São Tomé Island Airport (TMS/FPST), São Tomé and Príncipe
The aircraft was to be ferried from Lanseria airport (FALA) in South Africa to Bamako airport (GABS) in Mali, with a stopover at Ondangua Airport (FYOA) in Namibia, São Tomé International Airport (FPST) in São Tomé and Príncipe and Accra Airport (DGAA) in Ghana.
The aircraft had been in Lanseria Airport for a maintenance check. Prior to the planned flight, the aircraft underwent flight check for 45 minutes after completed planned maintenance on April 6th, flown by the Captain and another pilot.
The aircraft departed FALA to FYOA for its first stop over with a flight time of 03:35h. The planned departure from FYOA was delayed due to trouble in starting the right engine. The aircraft took off at 10:21 hrs contrary to planned 08:30 hrs.
For the second leg of the flight, the aircraft departed FYOA to FPST with a filed flight plan of 5 hours and 20 minutes (flight time) having FYOA as alternate.
Leaving the Namibian airspace the pilot only contacted Luanda ATC and São Tomé Tower as destination. At the time of the flight the west coast of Africa in the vicinity of Gulf of Guinea had widespread moderate to severe thunderstorm activity with lighting and heavy rain.
When initiating descent to São Tomé from FL 200 to 4000 feet as instructed by São Tomé ATC, the pilot was advised that weather was gradually deteriorating at the airport. At 16:10 hrs the pilot had the last radio contact with São Tomé Tower, informing them about his position which was 9 nm inbound to São Tomé VOR at 4000 feet and also informed the ATC that he was encountering heavy rain.
Having lost contact with the aircraft at 16:13 hrs, the São Tomé ATC tried several times to contact the airplane
A Search and Rescue operation started on 7 April 2013 the same day the accident occurred and was conducted on the sea and on the island; no trace of aircraft or its debris, pilot or any cargo were found. The search was terminated on 20 April at 1730hrs.

Probable Cause:

Probable Causal Factors
By the fact that there is no evidence of the crash, the cause of the accident cannot be conclusively decided, however the investigation discovered series of discrepancies and non-compliance which includes:
a. Pilot:
i. Planned long flight as solo pilot from Lanseria to Bamako is excessive for pilot fatigue perspective (over 15 hours flying).
ii. The First Class FAA (USA) medical Certificate issued on April 23rd 2012 had expired on October 31st 2012.
b. Meteorological Conditions:
i. Adverse weather conditions enroute and on arrival on that day, the west coast of Africa in the vicinity of Gulf of Guinea had widespread moderate to severe thunderstorm activity with lighting and heavy rain. When initiating descent to Sao Tome, the pilot was advised that weather was gradually deteriorating at airport vicinity.

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CNIPAIA
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 5 years and 8 months
Accident number: GT/07/04/2013/RF
Download report: Final report

» Angop
» Small Plane With U.S. Pilot Missing Off West Africa (AP, 12-4-2013)

Follow-up / safety actions

issued 4 Safety Recommendations

Show all...


photo of Beechcraft-1900C-1-TR-LFP
accident date: 07-04-2013
type: Beechcraft 1900C-1
registration: TR-LFP

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 Ondangwa Airport to São Tomé Island Airport as the crow flies is 2259 km (1412 miles).
Accident location: Global; accuracy within tens or hundreds of kilometers.

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.
languages: languages


The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2023 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av, 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314