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Last updated: 23 April 2021
Date:Sunday 5 October 2008
Type:Silhouette image of generic BN2P model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Britten-Norman BN-2A-26 Islander
Registration: ZS-OSD
Msn: 461
First flight: 1975-08-27 (33 years 2 months)
Total airframe hrs:12000
Engines: 2 Lycoming O-540-E4C5
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 8
Total:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:33 km (20.6 mls) NW of Barberton (   South Africa)
Crash site elevation: 1493 m (4898 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Nelspruit-Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP/FAKN), South Africa
Destination airport:Bloemfontein/New Tempe (FATP), South Africa
The purpose of the flight was to fly two families including the airplane's owner, to Mozambique. The regular pilot of the aircraft was unable to undertake the journey, so a replacement pilot was trained over a three-day period. On September 27, the airplane flew from Bloemfontein/New Tempe (FATP) to Inhambane (FQIN) in Mozambique with an en route stop at Nelspruit-Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP/FAKN). The return flight was commenced on October 5. The pilot filed a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan with the ATC at Kruger Airport (FAKN) for the flight to New Tempe aerodrome (FATP) on the day of the accident.
The aircraft departed Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (FAKN) at 1517 for the final leg of the flight. Approximately 20 minutes after takeoff from FAKN, a witness observed the aircraft flying at an altitude of approximately 1000 ft AGL with the wings level in a southerly direction, overhead the farm, in the direction of the mountains. The witness noted that the aircraft was flying much lower than aircraft would normally fly when they flew over the farm. Thick mist covered approximately one third (1/3) of the top of the mountain at the time. The witness then lost sight of the aircraft and approximately two minutes later he heard an explosion.
The wreckage was located the following day approximately at an elevation of 4,898ft amsl, which is 170ft below the mountain top, where the aircraft had impacted with terrain. The aircraft had ploughed through a pine tree plantation, and was destroyed in the impact sequence and by the post-impact fire that had erupted. All the occupants on board the aircraft were fatally injured in the accident.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot encountered adverse weather (IMC) conditions en route during a VFR flight, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain near the top of the mountain."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 6 months
Accident number: CA18/2/3/8559
Download report: Final report

VFR flight in IMC
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain


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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 Nelspruit-Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport to Bloemfontein/New Tempe as the crow flies is 633 km (396 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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.
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