Thursday, August 18, 2016

Diamond DA20-C1, Bohlke International Airways, N828BB: Accident occurred Sunday, August 07, 2016 near Henry E. Rohlson International Airport (STX), St. Croix, Virgin Islands


NTSB Identification: ERA16LA282
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 07, 2016 in St. Croix, VI
Aircraft: DIAMOND AIRCRAFT IND INC DA 20 C1, registration: N828BB
Injuries: 2 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 7, 2016, at 1123 Atlantic standard time, a Diamond DA 20 C1, N828BB, was destroyed during collision with terrain following a bounced landing and runway excursion on runway 10 at Henry E. Rohlson International Airport (STX), St. Croix, Virgin Islands. The student pilot and flight instructor were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight that originated at STX about 1030, and was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Preliminary information from the STX air traffic control tower revealed the airplane had completed one touch-and-go landing and was cleared for a second touch-and-go. Just prior to touchdown, the airplane "tilted" to its left, and the left wingtip appeared to strike the ground prior to the main landing gear. The airplane continued, and bounced 4 to 5 times before "banking hard" to its left, departing the landing surface, and crashing into trees north of the runway.

The pilots were not immediately available for interview due to their injuries.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land and instrument airplane. He held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single engine. He was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate on January 29, 2016. According to the operator, the pilot had accrued 506 total hours of flight experience.

The student pilot was issued an FAA third-class medical certificate on June 10, 2014. According to the operator, the student pilot had accrued 34.6 total hours of flight experience.

The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed June 24, 2016, at 1,982.9 total aircraft hours.

Examination of the airplane by FAA aviation safety inspectors revealed the tail section and the engine compartment separated from the cockpit and cabin structure. The engine remained attached by wires and cables. Control continuity was established from the cockpit to the flight control surfaces through cable breaks and cuts made by recovery personnel.

Examination of photographs revealed angular cuts in tree branches above the crash site.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

At 1315, the weather reported at STX included few clouds at 1,800 feet and wind from 120 at 10 knots. The temperature was 32 degrees C, dewpoint was 26 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.05 inches of mercury.

Regine Rose Acosta

Regine Acosta and Flight Instructor Theo Smith

ST. CROIX — The victims of a plane accident that occurred near Estate Yellow Cedar but within the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on Sunday, August 7th, are in more seriously condition previously thought, multiple sources with knowledge of the matter have confirmed to The Consortium.

One source with intimately knowledge of the situation revealed that the student victim, a 19-year-old named Regine Rose Acosta, was damaged so badly that she had to be airlifted to the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida Sunday.

Ms. Acosta was featured in a story on The Consortium on June 2, 2015; back then a Central High School senior, detailing her first solo flight as a pilot, which was deemed successful.

Ms. Acosta, who plans on pursuing a career as a commercial pilot, developed a love for flying in 9th grade after joining the Virgin Islands Youth Aviation Club, where she has been a member for five years.

On February 28, 2015, she began training for her private pilot’s license. Back then, Ms. Acosta had completed 26 of the 40 hours required for the licensure.

The instructor who was also badly injured during the accident with a broken leg and other injuries, is a firefighter stationed at the airport. His identity was not revealed, but he too was airlifted out of the territory for further care, these sources say.

Though the victims’ conditions are stable, they sustained serious injuries. Ms. Acosta underwent facial surgery today as her countenance was badly damaged. She also suffered internal injuries. And the instructor, whose ankle was also badly damaged, was receiving emergency care as well.

In a statement issued to The Consortium Monday afternoon, Bohlke International Airways, owner of the Diamond DA20 aircraft that crashed, said the Federal Aviation Administration would conduct a full investigation into the accident, but that the company’s focus was on the recovery of the victims.

“We are thankful to the emergency medical personnel for their immediate response to this accident,” said Bohlke International Airways President, William Bohlke. “It will take some time to learn exactly what happened, but we are currently focused on the complete recovery of the two people involved.”

The incident occurred at about 11:51 a.m. on Sunday, officials from the Police Department and 911 said. Police officers could be seen filing in and out of Bohlke Airways, located just west of the airport, following the crash.

An image made available to The Consortium shows the wreckage of the aircraft, which appears to be broken in two pieces near the center.


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