ASN Aircraft accident Cessna 208B Grand Caravan N540ME Anaktuvuk Pass Airport, AK (AKP)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Saturday 2 January 2016
Type:Silhouette image of generic C208 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan
Operator:Wright Air Service
Registration: N540ME
MSN: 208B0540
First flight: 1996
Total airframe hrs:19555
Engines: 1 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-114A
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 7
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 8
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:10 km (6.3 mls) SW of Anaktuvuk Pass Airport, AK (AKP) (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Fairbanks International Airport, AK (FAI/PAFA), United States of America
Destination airport:Anaktuvuk Pass Airport, AK (AKP/PAKP), United States of America
The Cessna 208B Grand Caravan airplane, N540ME, sustained substantial damage after impacting terrain about 6 miles southwest of the Anaktuvuk Pass Airport, Alaska. Of the eight people on board, the pilot and four passengers sustained serious injuries, and three passengers sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the Anaktuvuk Pass Airport at the time of the accident. The flight departed from the Fairbanks Airport, about 10:30, destined for Anaktuvuk Pass.
The pilot stated that he was flying along the John's River about 2,500 feet msl, 500 feet above ground level (agl) while en route to Anaktuvuk Pass Airport (AKP). About 10 miles from the airport, he began to climb to airport traffic pattern altitude and maintain a flight track on the east side of the river valley to conduct a straight-in approach to runway 2 at AKP. Although some ice was present on the windshield, the deice/anti-ice equipment was operating as designed, and the windshield hot plate remained free of contamination. He stated that due to the overcast skies and snow covered ground, a flat light condition was present.
The aircraft impacted an area of snow-covered tundra, at an elevation of about 2,500 feet msl. The top of the ridge where the airplane impacted is at an approximate elevation of 3,000 feet msl. From the initial point of impact, the airplane traveled about 300 feet before coming to rest in an upright position. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wings.
Immediately following the accident, a passenger utilized a cellular phone to call for rescue from Anaktuvuk Pass residents. About 20 minutes after the call, the airplane was located and rescue personnel began extricating passengers and transporting them via snow machine to Anaktuvuk Pass for medical attention.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot’s continued flight into deteriorating, flat light weather conditions, which resulted in impact with mountainous, snow-covered terrain."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 8 months
Accident number: ANC16LA012
Download report: Final report

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain


METAR Weather report:
21:16 UTC / 12:16 local time:
PAKP 022116Z AUTO 34003KT 4SM FEW035 OVC042 M07/M11 A2902 RMK AO1

21:36 UTC / 12:36 local time:
PAKP 022136Z AUTO 18007KT 6SM SCT034 BKN043 OVC070 M07/M11 A2903 RMK AO1

21:56 UTC / 12:56 local time:
PAKP 022156Z AUTO 14005KT 6SM BKN050 OVC065 M07/M11 A2902 RMK AO1

22:16 UTC / 13:16 local time:
PAKP 022216Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM BKN042 OVC050 M06/M09 A2902 RMK AO1

23:36 UTC / 14:36 local time:
PAKP 022336Z AUTO 00000KT 4SM BKN035 OVC043 M06/M09 A2902 RMK AO1


photo of Cessna-208B-Grand-Caravan-N540ME
accident date: 02-01-2016
type: Cessna 208B Grand Caravan
registration: N540ME

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 Fairbanks International Airport, AK to Anaktuvuk Pass Airport, AK as the crow flies is 404 km (253 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.
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