Namibian aircraft crashes caused by pilots


Gaborone - The Cessna 425 light passenger/trainer aircraft which killed three pilots after a failed landing at Hosea Kutako International Airport, January 20, 2016. The pilot allegedly failed to adhere to set landing procedures, leading to the crash.

GABORONE – A new report by the Namibian Directorate of Aircraft Accident Investigations (DAAI) has revealed that the three aircraft accidents which killed a total of five people in separate incidents in January and April this year were caused by pilots who violated flight procedures and provided false information to the main flight control towers of their airports of departure.

According to a leaked internal memo sent from the office of DAAI director Ericksson Nengola to Namibian Minister of Works and Transport Alpheus Naruseb and copied to Angelina Simana, the Director of the Directorate of Civil Aviation, all accidents were caused by the pilots who violated basic flight regulations stipulated by the DCA.

The first probe related to the January 29, 2016, crash of a twin-engined Cessna 425 light aircraft shortly after take off from Eros Airport in Windhoek en-route to the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) on a training flight. The crash killed pilots Uwe Herbert, Fritz Alpers and Ole Friede. The small aircraft took off from the Eros Airport in Windhoek.

The second probe examined the causes of the crash of a helicopter of undefined make which killed pilot Lambert Roux, also shortly after departure from Eros Airport on April 8. The third investigation related to the crash of a helicopter of a Boeing MD-500 helicopter only 30 metres away from Roux’s crash site as friends tried to salvage the remains of his chopper on April 20. One person was killed in the accident.

In the matter of the Cessna 425 trainer aircraft, investigators found that the pilot of the aircraft, which crashed on landing at the Hosea Kutako International Airport, deviated from standard landing procedures and caused the aircraft to crash.

“(In approaching the airport) the pilots proceeded on a precision landing approach, and then turned right on a non-precision high frequency omni-directional approach, and thereafter crashed. These normalised deviations have the potential to cause adverse flight conditions, especially when combined with other manoeuvres,” the report reads in part.

The preliminary probe into the crash that killed Roux on April 8 found that he departed Eros Airport during “un-procedural” hours and never made radio contact with the main control tower at Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) as per civil aviation regulations. His pilot’s licence was also found to be non-compliant with DCA regulations. His Air Traffic Controller licence was found to be totally invalid.

In the matter of the Boeing MD-500 crash on April 20 crash, investigators found that pilot Abe van der Merwe had overloaded the aircraft and deliberately provided false information with regards to the number of people he had on board.

He allegedly reported to the control tower on departure from Eros Airport that he had one crew member and three passengers on board when in actual fact he had five passengers. The probe also found that all the seats had been removed from the helicopter, leaving all the passengers unrestrained and vulnerable to injury.

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