ASN logo
Last updated: 19 March 2019
Date:Monday 26 October 2015
Type:Silhouette image of generic B734 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-4L7
Operated by:Comair
On behalf of:British Airways
Registration: ZS-OAA
C/n / msn: 26960/2483
First flight: 1993-05-23 (22 years 5 months)
Total airframe hrs:57543
Engines: 2 CFMI CFM56-3C1
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 94
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 100
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Johannesburg-O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) (   South Africa)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Port Elizabeth Airport (PLZ/FAPE), South Africa
Destination airport:Johannesburg-O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB/FAOR), South Africa
A Boeing 737-400, operated by Comair on behalf of British Airways, sustained severe damage in a landing accident at Johannesburg-OR Tambo Airport, South Africa. There were 94 passengers and six crew members on board.
The aircraft, flight number BA6234, departed Port Elizabeth Airport at 08:20 UTC on an instrument flight plan rule for Johannesburg.
The first officer was the flying pilot for this leg. During approach to Johannesburg the aircraft was cleared for landing on runway 03R. The approach was flown with a tailwind (340° at 10 knots).
After crossing the runway threshold, the first officer began flaring the aircraft at 65 feet instead of 20 feet as recommended by Boeing. This contributed to a low sink rate (1.8 feet/second). The aircraft touched down at an excessive ground speed of 167 knots. The flight crew felt the aircraft vibrating, during which they applied brakes and deployed the reverse thrust.
The left main gear collapsed approximately 5 seconds after touchdown, causing the aircraft to roll slightly low to the left.
It later came to full stop around 35 seconds later, slightly left of the runway centreline, resting on its right main landing gear and the number one engine, with the nose landing gear in the air.
The aircraft sustained substantial damage as the number one engine scraped along the runway surface when the landing gear detached from the fuselage. The occupants were allowed to disembark from the aircraft via the left aft door due to the attitude in which the aircraft came to rest.
It was determined that the early flare and low sink rate on touchdown caused a condition in which excessive vibrations build up on the left landing gear and resulted in the upper torsion link failure.
The thermal relief valve of the shimmy damper contained oil which could have impaired its effectiveness
Significant wear was found on the upper torsion link bushes, which could have contributed with the un-dampened vibration build up during operation.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause:
Unstable approach whereby the aircraft was flared too high with high forward speed resulting with a low sink rate in which during touch down the left landing gear experienced excessive vibration and failed due to shimmy events.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 5 months
Accident number: CA18/2/3/9494
Download report: Final report


METAR Weather report:
09:00 UTC / 10:00 local time:
FAOR 260900Z VRB07KT CAVOK 26/05 Q1029 NOSIG

10:00 UTC / 12:00 local time:
FAOR 261000Z VRB05KT 9999 FEW045 26/04 Q1029 NOSIG

11:00 UTC / 13:00 local time:
FAOR 261100Z 12006KT 060V170 CAVOK 27/04 Q1028 NOSIG

Follow-up / safety actions

CAA S.A. issued 1 Safety Recommendation

Show all...


photo of Boeing 737-4L7 ZS-OAA
photo of Boeing 737-4L7 ZS-OAA
photo of Boeing 737-4L7 ZS-OAA
photo of Boeing 737-4L7 ZS-OAA
photo of Boeing 737-4L7 ZS-OAA
photo of Boeing 737-4L7 ZS-OAA
photo of Boeing 737-4L7 ZS-OAA
photo of Boeing 737-4L7 ZS-OAA
photo of Boeing 737-4L7 ZS-OAA
photo of Boeing 737-4L7 ZS-OAA
photo of Boeing 737-4L7 ZS-OAA
photo of Boeing 737-4L7 ZS-OAA
Add your photo of this accident or aircraft

Video, social media

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 Port Elizabeth Airport to Johannesburg-O.R. Tambo International Airport as the crow flies is 906 km (566 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few 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


Boeing 737-400

  • 486 built
  • 22nd loss
» safety profile

 South Africa
  • 38th worst accident (at the time)
  • 40th worst accident (currently)
» safety profile