Santa Bárbara Airlines Flight 518
A Santa Bárbara Airlines ATR 42 similar to the one involved.
|Date||21 February 2008|
|Summary||Pilot error caused by disorientation, failure to use checklist, Controlled flight into terrain|
|Aircraft type||ATR 42-300|
|Operator||Santa Bárbara Airlines|
|Flight origin||Alberto Carnevalli Airport, Mérida, Venezuela|
|Destination||Simón Bolívar International Airport, Caracas, Venezuela|
|Wikinews has related news: 46-passenger Venezuelan plane reported missing|
Santa Bárbara Airlines Flight 518 was an ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop aircraft, registration YV1449, operating as a scheduled domestic flight from Mérida, Venezuela to Caracas that crashed into the side of a mountain on 21 February 2008, shortly after takeoff. There were 43 passengers on board, with a crew of two pilots and a flight attendant. The wreckage was discovered a day later with no survivors. It is the highest death toll of any aviation accident involving an ATR 42.
Mérida, a universitary and tourist town located high in the Andes mountains, is surrounded by higher terrain, with night flights prohibited at the nearby Alberto Carnevalli Airport. On 21 February 2008, Flight 518 was the last scheduled flight out of the airport, departing at about 17:00 local time. Shortly after take-off, the ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop slammed into a sheer 13,000-foot (4,000 m) rock wall called "Indian Face" (Spanish: La Cara del Indio). No distress calls were received from the aircraft prior to impact.
Antonio Rivero, national director of civil defense, said rescuers had identified the site of the crash in the south-western state of Mérida. Unión Radio cited civil defense regional chief, Gerardo Rojas, as saying that rescue crews were racing to the poorly-accessible crash site in the Andes Mountains. Mountain villagers reported hearing a huge noise they thought could be a crash soon after the disappearance and loss of contact with Flight 518. According to local police, the wreckage of the aircraft was located at Páramo de Mucuchíes, in the sector of Collao del Cóndor, Páramo Piedra Blanca, near the Laguna de la Perlada. The search operation was conducted from the regional hub city of Barinas in western Venezuela.
Air-rescue services said that the twin-turboprop ATR 42 crashed 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the mountain city of Mérida after take-off. Searchers spotted the wreckage of the plane carrying 43 passengers and 3 crew members in the mountains of western Venezuela on Friday, 22 February. Fire-fighter Sgt. Jhonny Paz said officials believed there were no survivors and were sending a helicopter to the site of the accident after a refueling stop. "The impact was direct. The aircraft is practically pulverized," he told the Venezuelan television station Globovisión. At the national civil aeronautical institute, General Ramón Vinas confirmed that, "by the type of impact, we presume that there are no survivors".
As search-and-rescue activities were underway, local media published the passenger list of Sánta Barbara Airlines Flight 518. Most of the victims were Venezuelan; three Colombians and an American also died in the crash.
Among the passengers were an anti-Chávez political analyst, Italo Luongo, and Alexander Quintero, the pro-Chávez mayor of Mucuchíes, a small town in the state of Mérida, Quintero's 11-year old son, and two relatives of federal under-minister for civic security Tarek El Alssami. Vivian Guarch, a 53-year-old United States citizen and executive for Stanford Financial Group Bank, died in the crash.
Family members and friends of the victims created a website with information related to the crash and its victims.
The Cockpit Voice Recorder (black box) was successfully recovered from the wreckage. Preliminary information released on 28 July 2008, indicates the crew departed Mérida with inoperative navigation equipment and subsequently became disoriented in the mountainous terrain surrounding the airport, crashing into the side of a mountain while trying to determine their location. Subsequent investigation concluded that the pilots took off without conducting the mandatory pre-flight procedures and used an unauthorised departure route.
Cockpit voice recording
- CAM 2: Mérida Tower, good afternoon. Santa Barbara 518 is requesting startup and clearance for proposed flight to Maiquetia, tower 518.
- TWR: 518, once doors closed startup is approved, altimeter 1018. Be advised a B190 of Avior two minutes ago checked over Lagunillas.
- CAM 2: Roger with Avior via Lagunillas. QNH 1018, startup clearance received and doors closing, and expecting taxi clearance to runway 24. Santa Barbara 518.
- CAM 1: If possible, keep on the concrete ramp!
- CAM 2: Mérida, Barbara 518 requests 180 turn to stay on the concrete.
- CAM 1: If possible, keep on the concrete ramp.
- TWR: Standby for immediate taxi and Avior’s position…
- TWR: Avior 1116 Mérida, position?
- ROI1116: We are 8 miles out, confirming 8 miles outside Lagunillas, through 110 to 9 thousand feet. No problem, you can clear the Barbara and we’ll contact you inbound.
- TWR: So we’ll clear for takeoff (BBR 518) while you contact us when inbound.
- TWR: Barbara 518, expedite your taxi to (runway) 24 and contact when ready for takeoff.
- CAM 2: Expediting taxi to (runway) 24 and we’ll call when ready for takeoff. Santa Barbara 518.
- CAM 1: Look at this shit.
- CAM 2: Clearance for Santa Barbara 518.
- TWR: We are still waiting on the clearance.
- CAM 1: It’s going to be a hell this shit. We’ll have to reset it during flight, what a crap!
- CAM 2: We’ll go visual
- CAM 1: We’ll take off in the dark. Fuck! We didn’t see this shit! I won’t touch it; these gyros are fucked up again. The other day we also skipped this and we had to leave them like this.
- TWR: Barbara 518, Maiquetia cleared you to 190, direct airport, 1655.
- CAM 2: Maiquetia Center clears Barbara 518 to Maiquetia W8 1-9-0, transponder 1655, Barbara 518 180 ready for departure.
- TWR: Roger, winds 220 at 08, cleared for takeoff.
- CAM 2: Cleared for takeoff Runway 24, Santa Barbara 518.
- CAM 1: We can't see shit; if we can fix it we’ll go visual. We’ll fix it in flight.
- CAM 1: We’re ready to go; you have the controls if you want.
- CAM 1: Power set... positive
- CAM 2: Gear up. We’re up
- TWR: Avior 1116. Traffic airborne right now.
- ROI1116: Roger, 1116 is inbound over Lagunillas.
- CAM 1: Roger. And as complementary information from us we’ll be a bit closer to the northern mountains my friend, so you’ll have a chance.
- ROI1116: Roger my friend, so we’ll keep closer to the southern mountains.
- CAM 1: Go ahead.
- CAM 2: Let’s keep white bugs + 10
- CAM 1: The same shit of the other day.
- CAM 2: The units are fucked up.
- CAM 1: The last time was like this, we had to wait until…
- CAM 2: Level at 400 feet
- CAM 1: We’re visual
- CAM 1: Level
- CAM 1: If you want we can start to turn, Denis.
- CAM 1: This way… it’s better
- CAM 1: I passed by here…(Laughs)
- CAM 1: Let’s keep this heading… Ok? And let’s try to keep 141 Denis.
- CAM 2: Ok.
- CAM 2: And manual...
- CAM 1: turn a bit more to see if this compass works and keep it right there.
- CAM 1: Let it there.
- CAM 1: Denis, a bit more to the right.
- CAM 2: to the right?
- CAM 1: Yes, get to zero six seven (067)
- CAM 2: Zero seven three (073) (GPWS Sounds)
- CAM 1: Denis, Denis (The captain takes control of the airplane)
- CAM 2: We’re at 074, aren’t we?
- CAM 2: 360?
- TWR: 518 Airborne 2 9 contact (over) Observatory. Did I clear you? (GPWS sounds again)
- CAM 2: That’s correct sir (GPWS alarm sounds again)
(GPWS sounds again)
- CAM 2: Aldino, Aldino. Go that way, are we at?
- CAM 2: Aldino, Aldino, we’re at 318 not 17… Aldino? Aldino!
(GPWS sounds again)
- CAM 2: Aldino, shit we’re at 318.
- CAM 1: What the fuck do you want? Turn to the right?
(GPWS sounds again)
- CAM 2: Aldino take that way!
- CAM 1: Fuck, Denis… For Christ’s sake!
- CAM 2: Aldino let’s turn 360 backwards. We’re going down!
- CAM 2: Ok.
- CAM 1: Denis… For Christ’s sake!
(Stick Shaker Activates)
- CAM 2: Aldino!
- CAM 1: Hold on, hold on.
- CAM 1: Easy Denis, Easy
(Sound of Crash)
(End of the recording)
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
- "Jetliner reported missing in Venezuela". CNN. 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- "Plane Carrying 46 Missing in Venezuela". Associated Press via Google News. 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-02-21.[dead link]
- "'No survivors' in Venezuelan plane crash: officials". Agence France Presse (AFP). 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- Rescuers find Venezuela plane crash black boxes, Reuters, 24 Feb 2008. Retrieved on 2008-02-28.
- Venezuela begins recovering bodies from Andean plane crash, The Associated Press, 2008-02-24. Retrieved on 2008-02-28.
- "Wreckage of Venezuelan airliner spotted". Thaindian.com. 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- "Plane Crash Site in Venezuela Found". Associated Press. 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2008-02-28.[dead link]
- Rueda, Jorge (2008-02-22). "Venezuela Plane Crash Kills 46". The Associated Press. washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2008-02-24.[dead link]
- "Passenger Manifest of Santa Barbara Airlines Flight 508". laverdad.com. 2008-02-22. Archived from the original on 25 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- "Venezuela crash data boxes found." BBC, 2008-02-23. Retrieved on 2008-02-28.
- "Chavez followers get paramilitary training". USA Today. 2005-03-16. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
- Flight 518 victims website (in Spanish)
- Illustration of flight paths
- Transcriben conversación de Caja Negra de vuelo de Mérida ("Transcript of conversation of Merida flight's black box", in Spanish)
- CVR audio (Archive)
|"ATR-42-300 YV1449" pictures from jetphotos.net|
|"ATR-42-300 YV1449" pictures from myaviation.net|
- (Spanish) Vuelo 518 Santa Bárbara
- (Spanish) "REPUBLICA BOLIVARIANA DE VENEZUELA TRIBUNAL TERCERO DE PRIMERA INSTANCIA EN FUNCIONES DE CONTROL." (Archive)