Sunday, October 07, 2012

Fly Montserrat Britten-Norman BN2 A Islander, VP-MON, Flight 5M-107

 This bulletin contains facts which have been determined up to the time of issue. This information is published to inform the aviation industry and the public of the general circumstances of accidents and must necessarily be regarded as tentative and subject to alteration or correction if additional evidence becomes available.

Preliminary Report on FlyMontserrat Crash

The preliminary report from the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority into the fatal plane crash on 7 October is printed below.

The substantive investigation into the crash is ongoing. The Governor’s Office will immediately release further details to the public as they become available.

preliminary report

ECCAA No.7AC/1/99


Aircraft Type and Registration: Britten-Norman BN2A-26 Islander, VP-MON serial number 082)

No & Type of Engines: 2 Lycoming O-540-E4C5 piston engines

Year of Manufacture: 1969

Location V.C. Bird International Airport, Antigua (TAPA)

Date & Time (UTC): 7 October 2012 at 2010 hrs

Type of Flight: Commercial Air Transport (Passenger)

Persons on Board: Crew: 1 Passengers: 3

Injuries: Crew 1 (fatal)

Passengers 2 (fatal)

1 (serious)

Nature of Damage: Aircraft destroyed

Commander’s Licence: Commercial Pilot’s Licence

Commander’s Age: 31 years

Commander’s Flying Experience: 710 hours total of which 510 were on type

Last 28 days- 25 hours

Last 24 hours – 0.5 hours

Information Source: ECCAA Accident Investigation

All times in this report are UTC; Antigua time is UTC – 4 hrs

The investigation

The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority was informed of the accident immediately, and senior staff attended the accident site without delay.

The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority began an investigation under the Antigua and Barbuda Civil Aviation Regulations 2004. In accordance with established international arrangements, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) of the United Kingdom, representing the State of Design and Manufacture of the aircraft, and (through its registration in a British Overseas Territory) the State of Operator, appointed an Accredited Representative to participate in the investigation. The AAIB Accredited Representative is supported by an AAIB Advisor. Britten-Norman, the aircraft manufacturer, has been informed of the accident and has offered assistance. Air Safety Support International (ASSI)1, which performs regulatory oversight of the aircraft operator, has been informed of the accident and is cooperating with the investigation. Montserrat Airways Limited, the operator, is also cooperating with the investigation.

Initial investigative activity focused on examination of the aircraft wreckage and accident site, gathering of evidence from witnesses, and examination of technical records. Further investigation will encompass all operational and engineering matters relevant to the accident. A comprehensive accident report will be published in due course.

History of the flight

The aircraft, which had flown earlier during the day, was on a commercial air transport (passenger) flight from V.C. Bird International Airport, Antigua (TAPA), to John A. Osborne Airport, Montserrat (TRPG), with the pilot and three passengers on board. Weather conditions at the time of departure were good, though convective clouds and heavy rain showers had passed over the airport while the aircraft was parked before flight.

Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft was observed to yaw to the right, and to cease climbing. The aircraft then descended rapidly, apparently out of control. The aircraft impacted the ground within the airport perimeter, right wingtip first and steeply banked to the right, at low forward speed. Ground marks and damage to the wing tips and nose indicate that the aircraft cart-wheeled before coming to rest erect. The fuselage forward of the wings was destroyed; there was comparatively less damage to the rear part of the aircraft.

The pilot and two passengers, both of whom were seated in the forward part of the cabin, were fatally injured. Another passenger, seated in the rear-most row of seats, was seriously injured and taken to hospital for treatment.

Examination of the wreckage indicates that the number two (right-hand) engine was not producing power at the time of impact, and investigation of the fuel system feeding that engine found significant quantities of water.

Following failure of one of the two engines on the Islander aircraft, the failed engine’s propeller should be feathered, to reduce the drag produced. Following successful feathering, continued flight should be possible. Examination of the right-hand propeller showed that it was not in the feathered position.

1 ASSI is a wholly-owned, not-for-profit, subsidiary of the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA)

This bulletin contains facts which have been determined up to the time of issue. This information is published to inform the aviation industry and the public of the general circumstances of accidents and must necessarily be regarded as tentative and subject to alteration or correction if additional evidence becomes available.

Extracts can be published without specific permission providing that the source is duly acknowledged.

Engine failure pinpointed as cause of crash

St. John’s Antigua- A combination of engine failure and tainted fuel have been blamed for Sunday’s deadly Fly Montserrat crash, a preliminary report revealed.
The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) reported, “examination of the wreckage showed the right hand engine was not producing power at the time of impact. Investigation of the fuel system showed contamination with significant quantities of water.”

One aviation industry expert explained while all fuel contains some amount of water, there was too much in the tank of the doomed plane.

This water, the source said, would have gone to the engine instead of gas, thus, the engine would stop.

The aircraft needs both engines, located on the two sides of the plane, for take off, the source indicated.

Explaining how water could have gotten into the tank, the expert cited several reasons.
“It could be that the fuel tank cap on the wing was not properly sealed; not properly installed or it was leaky for a range of other reasons. It could have also occurred during refuelling if there was rain, but that is unlikely,” the individual noted.

The source said the company’s records and even interviews with other pilots who commanded the doomed aircraft could help determine the exact cause of the fuel contamination.

He said pre-flight inspections are usually done to see whether water is in the fuel.

Additional preliminary findings in the ECCAA report indicated the right propellor was not feathered.
This, another expert said, is either done automatically based on the type of aircraft or has to be done manually by the pilot to create “drag” on the side of the aircraft with the failed engine.

The report, available on The Aviation Herald website further indicated that VP-MON, flight 107 titled to the right shortly after take off at the VC Bird International Airport and stopped climbing while moving right.

As a result the Britten Norman (BN) Islander aircraft lost height and crashed to the ground, right wing first, at low forward speed.

It then cartwheeled before coming to a rest in an upright position, the ECCAA reported.
“The fuselage section forward of the wing was destroyed and the rest of the aircraft sustained comparatively less damage,” the report noted. reports the aircraft, built in 1969 as an Islander BN2A, was modified to a BN2A‑26, which gave it a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 6,600 pounds, and a maximum landing weight (MLW) of 6,300 pounds.

While, the Flight Safety Foundation said the aircraft was powered by two Lycoming 0-540 Piston engines and could have carried up to 10 people including the pilot.

The 31-year-old UK-born pilot, Captain Jason Forbes died on the spot in the crash and so did passenger Annya Duncan, 27, of Jamaica.

Another passenger, Sandrama Poligadu, 57 of Guyana died shortly after arrival at Mount St John’s Medical Centre.

The sole survivor of the accident, Michael Hudson of the UK, is said to have seen trouble was ahead due to the movement of the aircraft and he reportedly blacked out just before it smashed into the ground.

Forbes, the ECCAA report said, had a total of 710 hours on his Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) and 510 hours on type rating.

ECCAA officials assisted the UK’s Air Accident Investigative Branch,which probes such accidents in British Overseas Territories.

Meantime, head of the ECCAA Donald McPhail confirmed the preliminary report was submitted to the Civil Aviation Ministry here, but declined to discuss the findings.

And, oversight officer within that ministry, Peter Abraham said, “Once we have it in our hands and we’ve studied it, the necessary release would be made to the media at a press conference.”

St. John’s Antigua- In a matter of hours the nation will know whether engine failure – as eyewitnesses believe – was the cause of Sunday’s air disaster which killed three people.

Donald McPhail, boss of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) – tasked with leading the probe – yesterday said the preliminary findings should be in the hands of Minister of Civil Aviation John Maginley by 9 am today.

Horrified onlookers reported seeing the doomed nine-seater Fly Montserrat plane “drop” from the sky shortly after take-off from VC Bird International Airport.

With regards to the advancement of the investigation, McPhail said, “We at the ECCAA are very much satisfied with the progress we’ve made so far. In fact we have progressed more than we had anticipated when we last spoke on Sunday.”

Two officials, one from ECCAA and the other from the UK’s Air Accident Investigative branch, travelled from Antigua to Montserrat on Tuesday to visit Fly Montserrat operators.

Investigators, McPhail said, went to gather background information on the carrier, the aircraft and any other information that could assist them.

Those who died in the incident were the UK-born pilot Jason Forbes and passengers Sandrama Poligadu, 57, of Guyana, and Annya Duncan, 29, of Jamaica. A fourth person, Michael Hudson of the UK, sustained a broken right leg, fractured right hand and other cuts and bruises. Up to press time he was still a patient at Mount St John’s Medical Centre.

One witness told OBSERVER Media he heard the revving of the aircraft engine but then it cut out suddenly. Shortly afterwards, he said, emergency vehicles rushed to the area and he later got news of the crash.

Another witness, Karen Abbott-Winter, recalled seeing the aircraft climbing in the air near the end of the runway, but that it looked “too low”.

She said it lurched sideways as if it were headed back to the runway but then slammed to the ground near Runway 10.

 Captain Jason Forbes

BRADES, Montserrat, October 8th, 2012 – Montserrat was in mourning Monday following a crash of the national airline on Antigua late Sunday afternoon. 

 News reached the island shortly after 4pm on Sunday, October 7 that a British Norman Islander nine-seat aircraft operated by Fly Montserrat had crashed shortly after takeoff from the V.C. Bird International Airport.

 There were three passengers on board along with the pilot, Jason Forbes who was pronounced dead on the scene. A woman, later identified as Annya Duncan, a Jamaican national and teacher at the Montserrat Secondary School also died in the aircraft. A 50-year old Guyanese woman was the other victim.

 She died shortly after arriving at the Mount Saint John Medical Centre. The sole survivor is a British national, who was said to have sustained bruises, lacerations and a broken ankle. None of his injuries were life threatening according to official reports.

 The Honourable Deputy Premier Charles Kirnon, who has responsibility for aviation said Monday “The government and people of Montserrat are deeply saddened by the incident yesterday. The government will be looking at offering grief counselling to the relatives of the victims of the plane crash. This incident has touched us all.”

 His Excellency, the Governor Adrian Davis said in a press statement “I was extremely saddened to hear about the tragic incident at Antigua airport on 7 October involving a Fly Montserrat aircraft. This is a very sad day for our community, the effects of which will be felt by many on island and in the region.

 “I want in particular to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of the three people who died in the incident. The thoughts of my wife and I are with them at this difficult time. The fourth person in the crash has suffered injuries but is currently in a stable condition and is being treated at the St John’s Hospital in Antigua. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials in London and the Caribbean are in contact with him and his family and are providing assistance.”

 Governor Davis added that the investigation was being lead by Antiguan authorities and the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority with support from members of the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch, who were expected to arrive in Antigua late Monday to try and establish the cause of the incident.

 Honourable Opposition Leader Donaldson Romeo said the incident has touched us all and sent his prayers and well wishes to the families and friends mourning the deaths of the three victims.

 Early Monday, the Honourable Minister of Education Colin Riley, the acting Permanent Secretary for Education Glenn Francis, members of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), the Mental Health unit and the Montserrat Christian Council, visited the Montserrat Secondary School to offer support to the students and teachers mourning the loss of Duncan, who taught Mathematics and Integrated Science there.

 A candlelight vigil will be held at the Montserrat Secondary School on Tuesday evening at 6pm to remember her. A prayer vigil was held Monday evening by former students of the school who had been impacted by her work.

 Fly Montserrat resumed its regular scheduled service on Monday between Antigua, Montserrat and Nevis. Meanwhile, the government increased the ferry service to daily operations to accommodate passengers who may be concerned about travelling by air.

 Sandrama Poligadu 

A 57-year old Guyanese woman, who was travelling to Montserrat to assist her pregnant daughter, was among several persons who died in Sunday’s air-plane crash at Antigua’s VC Bird International Airport.

Dead is Sandrama Poligadu of 4 Williamsburg Corentyne.

Her daughter, Dina, told Demerara Waves Online News ( that she learnt of her mother’s demise through officials at hospitals in Montserrat and Antigua who had been in contact with her via telephone.

It is unclear whether the woman died on the spot when the Britten Norman  Islander plane, that was being operated by Fly Montserrat, crashed or at the Mount St. John Medical Centre.

Dina said her brother-in-law travelled to Antigua to make arrangements to return Sandrama’s body to Guyana. He is also expected to be in contact with Fly Montserrat.

The last time she spoke with her mother was by phone at the VC Bird International Airport where she had been checking in to board the Montserrat-bound flight.

Dina recalled being anxious and worried that no one had called to say whether her mother, who had been travelling by air for the first time, had arrived on the British overseas dependency.

The Fly Montserrat lost altitude on take-off and plunged to the end of the airstrip around 4:16 PM.

The pilot and another woman also perished in the crash.

 Annya Duncan (left) and a friend on a beach in Montserrat.

Annya Duncan remembered as a dedicated teacher 

 ANNYA Duncan, the Jamaican teacher who died in a plane crash at VC Bird International Airport in Antigua on Sunday, was yesterday remembered as a dedicated professional who would go the extra mile to help her students.

"She was one of those teachers who stayed back after school to help the children," Karlene Foreshaw, a friend and colleague Jamaican teacher at Montserrat Secondary School, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday in a phone interview. "It's so sad that we've lost her that way."

Duncan, who observed her 29th birthday on Sunday, and the Antiguan pilot of the Fly Montserrat aircraft, Jason Forbes, died after the twin-engine Britten-Norman Islander plane crashed onto Runway Seven shortly after take-off about 4:00 pm.

The nine-seater aircraft was destined for Montserrat where Duncan had been teaching Mathematics since 2010.

Yesterday, Foreshaw said that Duncan had just renewed her teaching contract at the school which has a student population of just over 300.

Foreshaw, who teaches Integrated Science and Agriculture, said the entire school was in mourning.

"The students are in tears. We had a counselling session this (yesterday) morning which was attended by the minister of education, the Anglican and Catholic priests, the permanent secretary in the education ministry, the president of the Parent Teachers' Association and parents," said Foreshaw, who has been teaching at the school for the past five years.

She added that a candlelight vigil will be held in honour of Duncan tonight, and lamented the fact that she was not able be to show her departed friend how much she appreciated her.

People travelling between Montserrat and Antigua normally do so via air or ferry.

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Annya Duncan, the Jamaican teacher who died in a plane crash at VC Bird International Airport in Antigua on Sunday, was today remembered as a dedicated professional who would go the extra mile to help her students.
“She was one of those teachers who stayed back after school to help the children,” Karlene Foreshaw, a friend and colleague Jamaican teacher at Montserrat Secondary School, told the Jamaica Observer this afternoon in a phone interview. “It’s so sad that we’ve lost her that way.”

A plane crash at the V. C. Bird International Airport

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua (AP) A tiny Caribbean airline says three people have died in the crash of a twin-engine plane at Antigua's airport. 

FlyMontserrat CEO Nigel Harris says two passengers and pilot Jason Forbes were killed in the Sunday afternoon crash at V.C. Bird International Airport in Antigua. He says one passenger has been critically injured.

The nine-seat Britten-Norman Islander plane with four people aboard was headed from Antigua to Montserrat when it slammed into the ground off a rain-slicked runway seconds after takeoff.

Stanley Smith is the head of the Antigua & Barbuda Airport Authority. He said Monday they will only release the identities of the passengers after relatives are contacted.

UPDATE:  Three of the four have died (the pilot and a passenger) died in the crash and the third was dead on arrival at the hospital. The fourth  is being treated at the hospital.

Two people have been reported dead in a plane crash at the V. C. Bird International Airport today (Sunday) afternoon.

 Informed sources said the pilot and a female passenger of the Fly Montserrat Islander aircraft died when the plane failed to take-off around 4 pm.

Reports say four people were on the aircraft and two people are hospitalized at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre.

Early reports indicate that the pilot was cleared for take-off by the Control Tower, but that the plane crashed while taking-off.

One man who was in the area said he heard a loud noise causing him to rush to the airport to investigate the sound. “I immediately felt that the plane crashed,” said Raymond Chaia, who lives nearby at Coolidge.

Airport authorities closed the airport as scores of emergency personnel converged on the scene of the crash near number 10 runway within the airport compound.

The airport has since been re-opened.

Speculations are that weather conditions may have been a factor in the crash. There have been heavy rains accompanied by thunder and lightning before and around the time of the crash.

 The Antiguan police have confirmed that two people are dead following the crash of a Fly Montserrat plane at the V.C. Bird International airport today.

CANA News reports that Sergeant William Holder confirmed the death of the pilot and a female passenger.

Two other passengers have been hospitalized at the Mount St John Medical Center.

Just after four o'clock this afternoon, the plane crashed onto the eastern section of the runway shortly after takeoff.

Police and emergency officials are at the scene of the incident.

 KINGSTON, Jamaica – A tiny Caribbean airline said one of its small planes has crashed during takeoff at Antigua’s airport, killing the pilot. 

 The status of the three passengers aboard the FlyMontserrat plane was not immediately clear after the Sunday accident at V.C. Bird International Airport.

FlyMontserrat spokeswoman Karen Allen said she can only confirm the death of the pilot, whose name has not been released. Allen said the airline was still gathering information about the crash and expects to issue a statement later.

The twin-engine Britten-Norman Islander plane crashed off a runway about 4 p.m. EDT. It was headed from Antigua to the nearby island of Montserrat.

Antigua’s airport was closed for at least an hour as emergency officials responded to the crash.

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