LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470
A LAM Mozambique Airlines Embraer 190, similar to the one involved in the incident.
|Date||29 November 2013|
|Summary||Deliberate crash and suicide by pilot|
|Site||Bwabwata National Park, Namibia |
|Aircraft type||Embraer 190|
|Operator||LAM Mozambique Airlines|
|IATA flight No.||TM470|
|ICAO flight No.||LAM470|
|Call sign||MOZAMBIQUE 470|
|Flight origin||Maputo International Airport, Maputo, Mozambique|
|Destination||Quatro de Fevereiro Airport, Luanda, Angola|
LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470 was a scheduled international 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 27 passengers and 6 crew members were killed. Preliminary findings of the Mozambican Civil Aviation Institute (IACM) showed that the pilot intentionally crashed the jet. The Mozambican Association of Air Operators (AMOPAR) disputes the conclusion of the IACM. The Directorate of Aircraft Accident Investigations Namibia stated that the pilot inputting controls leading to the crash was the probable cause of the aviation accident.
It was the first fatal incident for LAM Mozambique Airlines 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 incident was an Embraer 190 with manufacturer serial number 581, registered as C9-EMC and named Chaimite. The aircraft was manufactured in October 2012 and was delivered to LAM Mozambique Airlines in November 2012. It had since accumulated more than 2900 flight hours in 1900 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 FL380 (an altitude of about 38,000 feet (12,000 m)) in 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 (910 m) above sea level, after about six minutes of losing altitude. Shortly after, the aircraft crashed into Bwabwata National Park and exploded. The explosion completely destroyed the aircraft and killed all 33 people onboard instantly.  The last contact with air traffic control was made at 13:30 CAT (11:30 UTC) over northern Namibia during heavy rainfall.
Passengers 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 there were no survivors and that the aircraft was "completely burned to ashes."
The crew comprised two pilots, three cabin attendants, and a technician. The captain, Herminio dos Santos Fernandes, had logged more than 9,000 flight hours in total while the first officer had accumulated about 1,400 hours of flying experience.
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.
The pattern of debris indicated that the aircraft slid along the ground for several hundred metres.
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 United States' 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, making this a suicide by pilot. The aircraft'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. Contrary to regulations by Mozambique Airlines, no cabin crew member was deployed in the cockpit during the time of the co-pilot's absence.
Investigations of the aircraft's pilot revealed that 49-year old Captain Fernandes had suffered a number of blows of fate prior to the accident. His son died in a suspected suicide in November 2012; Fernandes stayed away from the funeral. His daughter was in hospital for heart surgery at the time of the crash, and his divorce proceedings were unresolved for over a decade.
Despite the conclusion of the IACM, the Mozambican Association of Air Operators (AMOPAR) disputed the preliminary report, explaining that the maneuvers of Captain Fernandes were from the manual of standard operating procedures issued by Embraer (the manufacturer of the crashed aircraft) about how to "act in emergency situation to avert disaster". According to the AMOPAR document, the Mozambican Government had not complied with the standards and recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) "about the disclosure, contents and procedures relating to the preliminary report of the investigation of the crash of flight TM 470."
On 15 April 2016 the DAAI released its final report finding that the inputs to the auto flight systems by the person believed to be the Captain, who remained alone on the flight deck when the person believed to be the co-pilot requested to go to the lavatory, caused the aircraft to depart from cruise flight, transition to a sustained controlled descent and subsequently crash.
- "Mozambique plane missing with 34 on board". BBC News. 29 November 2013. Archived from the original on 30 November 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "Crash: LAM E190 over Botswana/Namibia on Nov 29th 2013, captain intentionally crashed aircraft". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 22 December 2013.
- Shreeya Sinha (26 March 2015). "A History of Crashes Caused by Pilots' Intentional Acts". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
Herminio dos Santos Fernandes, the pilot of Mozambique Airlines Flight TM470 bound for Luanda, Angola, intentionally crashed the plane in a national park in Namibia on Nov. 29, 2013, according to investigators. ... When the flight's co-pilot left to use the lavatory, the captain locked him out of the cockpit and manually steered the plane downward. Listening to recovered flight recordings, investigators were able to hear alarms and banging on the cockpit door.
- ADérito Caldeira (29 November 2014). "Mozambique: One Year After the Tragedy of Flight TM 470 Mozambique Continues Without Knowing What Really Happened". AllAfrica.com. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
- Final Report. Directorate of Aircraft Accident Investigations Namibia. p. 2 (PDF p. 10/102).
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- "About the flight TM 470 Maputo – Luanda" (Press release). LAM Mozambique Airlines. 30 November 2013.
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- Lena Fosselius-Petersonhakan.firstname.lastname@example.org (22 December 2013). "Drönare till hjälp vid katastrofer - Värmlands Folkblad". Vf.se. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
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- Heinrich, Dirk (15 April 2016). "Pilot steuerte in den Boden. Unfallbericht zum Absturz der Passagiermaschine Mosambiks im Bwabwata-Park" [Pilot steered into the ground. Accident report on crash of Mozambican passenger aircraft in Bwabwata National Park]. Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). p. 1. Archived from the original on 17 April 2016.
- Directorate of Aircraft Accident Investigations of Namibia (15 April 2016). "Civil Aircraft Accident Report - ACCID/112923/1-12". Ministry of Works and Transport (Namibia). Retrieved 16 April 2016.
- (in Portuguese) "IACM NA POSSE DO RELATÓRIO DA INVESTIGAÇÃO PRELIMINAR" (Archive). SAPO Moçambique. 22 December 2013.
|Wikinews has related news: All plane occupants die in Namibia crash|
- Directorate of Aircraft Accident Investigations Namibia
- LAM Mozambique Airlines – Index of press releases related to the crash
- Pre-crash photo of C9-EMC