2011 United Nations Bombardier CRJ-100 crash
4L-GAE seen at Odessa International Airport (May 2008)
|Date||4 April 2011|
|Site||N'djili Airport, Democratic Republic of the Congo
|Injuries (non-fatal)||1 (serious)|
|Aircraft type||Bombardier CRJ-100ER|
|Operator||Georgian Airways for the United Nations|
|Flight origin||Goma International Airport, Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Stopover||Bangoka International Airport, Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Destination||N'djili, Democratic Republic of the Congo|
On 4 April 2011, a Georgian Airways Bombardier CRJ-100ER crashed while landing at N'djili Airport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The aircraft broke up when it hit the runway at the airport as it attempted to land. There were 32 fatalities, with the sole survivor a Congolese journalist.
The aircraft was a Bombardier CRJ-100ER, registered 4L-GAE, c/n 7070. The aircraft was delivered in 1996 to French airline Brit Air, as F-GRJA. It was sold to Georgian Airways in September 2007. Leased from Georgian Airways, it was operated by the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) using the callsign UN-834.
The aircraft crashed upon landing on N'djili Airport's Runway 24, shortly before 14:00 local time (13:00 UTC). The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Goma to Ndjili via Kisangani. Heavy rain was falling at the time. The METAR in force at the time showed thunder showers and rain.[Note A] According to a United Nations official, the plane "landed heavily, broke into two and caught fire". An eyewitness suggested windshear as a cause. The Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy indicated that the poor weather was a key element in the cause of the crash. Of the four Georgian crew and 29 passengers, there was only one survivor, Francis Mwamba, a Congolese journalist. The survivor was seriously injured. The aircraft manifest listed 20 UN workers. The passengers included UN peacekeepers and officials, humanitarian workers and electoral assistants. Five non-UN passengers were staff from non-governmental organisations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or from other international organisations.
The UN Security Council and the United States have offered their condolences for the accident. UN flights are frequent in Congo, more than hundreds a week, as they are one of the best available means of transportation in the country; the flying route is one of the most used in the country.
MONUSCO set up a task force, which opened an investigation into the accident.
An investigation from the Bureau Permanent d’Enquêtes d’Accidents et Incidents d’Aviation of the DRC Ministry of Transport and Channels of Communication found that "The most probable cause of the accident was the aircraft's encounter with a severe Microburst like weather phenomenon at a very low altitude during the process of Go Around. The severe vertical gust/downdraft caused a significant and sudden pitch change to the aircraft which resulted in a considerable loss of height. Being at very low altitude, recovery from such a disturbance was not possible."
This translates as METAR for N'djili Airport, issued on the 4th of the month at 13:00 Zulu time. Winds from 180° at 20 knots (37 km/h). Visibility 500 metres (550 yd). Thunderstorms and heavy rain showers (greater than 7.6 mm/h). Scattered (cumulative 3/8 of sky covered) clouds at 2,200 feet (670 m), Scattered (cumulative total now 4/8) thunderclouds at 2,800 feet (850 m), broken (cumulative total between 5/8 to 7/8) clouds at 11,000 feet (3,400 m). Temperature 28 °C, dew point 22 °C, QNH 1008 hPa, thunderstorms to north east, east, south east and west of airport, visibility expected to improve to 1,500 metres (1,600 yd), end of report.
Nationalities of passengers
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||8||0||8|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||1||0||1|
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- More UN plane crash victims named as investigation into cause continues
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- "INVESTIGATION REPORT OF ACCIDENT INVOLVING GEORGIAN AIRWAYS AIRCRAFT CRJ-100ER (4L-GAE) AT KINSHASA’S N’DJILI AIRPORT DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) ON 04 APRIL 2011" (Archive) - Bureau Permanent d’Enquêtes d’Accidents et Incidents d’Aviation, Ministry of Transport and Channels of Communication - English translation
- (French) "RAPPORT FINAL D’ENQUETE TECHNIQUE SUR L’ACCIDENT DE L’AVION CRJ-100, IMMATRICULE 4L-GAE" (Archive) - Bureau Permanent d’Enquêtes d’Accidents et Incidents d’Aviation, Ministry of Transport and Channels of Communication - Original version