LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470
A LAM Mozambique Airlines Embraer 190, similar to the one involved in the accident.
|Date||29 November 2013|
|Site||Bwabwata National Park, Namibia
|Aircraft type||Embraer 190|
|Operator||LAM Mozambique Airlines|
|Flight origin||Maputo International Airport, Maputo, Mozambique|
|Destination||Quatro de Fevereiro Airport, Luanda, Angola|
LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470 was a scheduled LAM Mozambique Airlines passenger flight from Maputo International Airport, Mozambique that crashed on 29 November 2013 into the Bwabwata National Park in Namibia en route to Quatro de Fevereiro Airport, Angola. The aircraft operating the flight, an Embraer 190, departed Maputo at 11:26 CAT (09:26 UTC) and was due to land at 14:10 WAT (13:10 UTC), but failed to arrive at its destination. The wreckage of the aircraft was found the following day on 30 November 2013 at the Bwabwata National Park in northern Namibia, halfway between its departure and scheduled arrival airport. All 33 people, including 6 crew members, who were on board the aircraft were killed. Preliminary findings show that the pilot intentionally crashed the jet.
It was the first fatal incident for the airline since 1970, and the deadliest for a Mozambican airline since the Mozambican presidential Tupolev Tu-134A-3 aircraft carrying President Samora Machel crashed in 1986.
The aircraft involved in the accident was an Embraer 190 with manufacturer serial number 581, registered as C9-EMC and named "Chaimite". Built in October 2012, it was first delivered to LAM Mozambique Airlines in November 2012 and had since accumulated 2905 flight hours in 1877 flight cycles. It was powered by two General Electric CF34-10E engines. The airframe and the engines were last inspected on 28 November 2013, one day before the crash.
The aircraft was cruising at an altitude of 38,000 feet (11,582 m) over Botswanan airspace about halfway between Maputo and Luanda when it began to lose altitude abruptly. The aircraft descended rapidly at a rate of about 100 feet (30 m) per second and was being tracked on radar. The aircraft's track was lost from screens at 3,000 feet (914 m) above sea level. The last contact with air traffic control was made at 13:30 CAT (11:30 UTC) over northern Namibia during heavy rainfall.
Passenger and crew
LAM Mozambique Airlines confirmed there were a total of 33 people on board (27 passengers and 6 crew members). The Namibian Police Force Deputy Commissioner Willy Bampton stated that none of them survived the accident and that "the plane [was] completely burned to ashes."
The crew comprised two pilots, three cabin attendants, and a technician. The captain, Herminio dos Santos Fernandes, had logged 9,053 flight hours in total while the first officer had accumulated 1,418 hours of flying experience.
Response and investigation
The government of Mozambique announced it would declare a period of national mourning. Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva expressed condolence to victims' families. LAM Mozambique Airlines reported it was providing counselling and legal advice to families in both Mozambique and Angola and had set up an information hotline.
Copture a civil drone (UAV/UAS) company based in Sweden assisted the aircraft investigation team with state of the art aerial photography, measurable tiff files and orthomosaiks over the crash site. This was the first time ever this technology was implemented in this type off investigations. There where hundred off photos taken from the air over the crash site, with a resolution of 4,5 cm/per pixel. After computer rendering on site the finished Orthomosaik was then printed at Studio 7 in Windhoek and delivered to the investigation team just days after the airplane was found. Helping the team to get a high-resolution aerial view of the crash site. Copture also delivered the whole project digitally with the possibilities to do advanced measuring or analyses with the use of different GIS applications.
Namibia's Chief Accident Investigator reports directly to the Minister of Works, Transport and Communication. The Aircraft Accident / Incidence Investigation authority is separate from the Directorate of Civil Aviation.
Both flight recorders, the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and the flight data recorder (FDR), were recovered from the crash site within four days of the crash and were subsequently sent to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for readout.
On 21 December 2013, the Mozambican Civil Aviation Institute (Instituto Moçambicano de Aviação Civil, IACM) head João Abreu presented the preliminary investigation report, according to which Captain Herminio dos Santos Fernandes had a "clear intention" to crash the jet and manually changed its autopilot settings. The plane's intended altitude was reportedly changed three times from 38,000 feet (11,582 m) to 592 feet (180 m), the latter being below ground level, and the speed was manually adjusted as well. The cockpit voice recorder captured several alarms going off during the descent, as well as repeated loud bangs on the door from the co-pilot, who was locked out of the cockpit until shortly before the crash.
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- (Portuguese) "IACM NA POSSE DO RELATÓRIO DA INVESTIGAÇÃO PRELIMINAR." SAPO Moçambique. 22 December 2013.
|Wikinews has related news: All plane occupants die in Namibia crash|
- LAM Mozambique Airlines - Index of press releases related to the crash