Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145
The aircraft involved in the accident taken in 1997 while still in operation with JAT Airways
|Date||10 December 2005|
|Summary||Missed approach due to pilot error aggravated by windshear.|
|Site||Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt, Nigeria|
|Aircraft type||McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32|
|Aircraft name||Rose of Enugu|
|Flight origin||Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria|
|Destination||Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt, Nigeria|
|Wikinews has related news: Airplane crashes in Nigeria|
Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145 (SO1145/OSL1145) was a scheduled domestic passenger flight between the Nigerian cities of Abuja (ABV) and Port Harcourt (PHC). At about 14:08 local time (13:08 UTC) on 10 December 2005, Flight 1145 from Abuja crash-landed at Port Harcourt International Airport. The plane, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 with 110 people on board, slammed into the ground and burst into flames. Immediately after the crash, seven survivors were recovered and taken to hospitals, but only two people survived.
It was the second air disaster to occur in Nigeria in less than three months, after Bellview Airlines Flight 210, which crashed on 22 October 2005 for reasons unknown, killing all 117 people on board. It was the company's first and only fatal accident.
The aircraft departed Abuja's Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at 12:25 p.m UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). The route had a scheduled time enroute of 2 hours and 40 minutes. About 90 miles from the airport, the aircraft contacted ATC (Air Traffic Control) for initial descent clearance and was cleared by ATC to FL160. The aircraft continued its descent until 13:00, when the crew asked ATC for the weather condition at the airport. ATC told the aircraft that there was no precipitation and that a scattered Cumulonimbus condition existed. Later on, the crew acknowledged the report.
The aircraft continued to follow its descent profile. ATC then contacted the aircraft and advised that precipitation was approaching the airport. The controller then cleared the aircraft to land at Runway 21, but warned the pilot that the runway could be slightly wet, indicating that hydroplaning was a possibility. The flight crew acknowledged this message. Unable to make out the unlit runway through the rain, the captain called for a go around (missed approach) at an altitude of about 200 ft (approximately 120 ft above the ground). This call was made about 100 ft below the DA (Decision Altitude).
The DC-9 then slammed onto the grass strip between the runway and the taxiway. 60 meters from the first impact point, the empennage struck a concrete drainage culvert, the aircraft then disintegrated and burst into flames. The cockpit and the forward fuselage broke off from its main body and slid along the taxiway, creating a total trail of wreckage of 120 meters.
The McDonnell Douglas DC-9 was manufactured in 1973. It entered the Nigerian registration on 12 June 2003, was owned by JAT Airways, and operated by Sosoliso Airlines Ltd. The aircraft certificate was released on 17 March 2005 and would have been due to another check on 27 June 2006. The aircraft was described as airworthy at the time of the accident.
Passengers and crews
The captain was Benjamin Adekunle Adebayo, a 48 year old Nigerian with a total flying experience of 10,050 hours with 1,900 of them on the DC-9. He had his last simulator training at Pan Am International Flight Academy in Miami on 7 July 2005. The first officer was Gerad Yakubu Andan, a 33 year old Ghanaian with a total flying experience of 920 hours which 670 hours were on the type. He had his last simulator training in August 2005 with a result of 'satisfying'.
All seven crew members, plus 101 of the 103 passengers, died, either in the crash or later from their injuries. The two surviving passengers, Kechi Okwuchi and Bunmi Amusan, were seriously injured. Many passengers survived the initial impact and died in the resulting fire. Port Harcourt Airport had one fire truck and no ambulances.
Among the passengers were about sixty-one secondary school students from Loyola Jesuit College in the Federal Capital Territory region of Nigeria. At first Loyola Jesuit College students from Port Harcourt traveled between school and their homes via buses using the roads. Rising crime along roads during the 1990s made parents believe that road travel was too dangerous. In 2001, when Sosoliso Airlines began services between Port Harcourt and Abuja parents placed their children on the flights.
Among the victims were two volunteers for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders en route to work in Port Harcourt, Hawah Kamara and Thomas Lamy, as well as televangelist Bimbo Odukoya, pastor of the Fountain of Life Church, who succumbed to her injuries the day after the accident. Pastor Odukoya's personal assistant, Bunmi Amusan (now Bunmi Adams) survived the plane crash and got married a year later. Another victim was Okoloma Maduewesi, a childhood friend of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who she fondly remembers as the first person to call her a feminist.
The other survivor, Okwuchi, was badly burned and treated at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa as of 14 December 2005, and at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Galveston, Texas, United States as of 6 September 2007. Kechi later went on to take part in the twelfth season of America's Got Talent in 2017 as a singer, and finished the competition as a finalist.
The Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau found out that the data from satellite imagery by Boeing Aircraft Company in USA suggested that at 13:00 UTC, a sea breeze front, possibly reinforced by an outflow, pushed inland in the vicinity of Port Harcourt. The leading edge of the boundary, in theory, could have included an abrupt increase in wind speed and significant horizontal and/or vertical windshear. Rain showers and thunderstorm also likely occurred as warm and moist air were lifted into the atmosphere.
Data from Nigerian Meteorological Agency showed that there was a change in the wind speed and direction as the aircraft approached the airport. The weather was deteriorating fast, and visibility was limited. The change of wind speed and direction created a perfect environment for wind-shear occurring in the airport.
Black Box analysis
As the Flight Data Recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder were retrieved by investigators, it was revealed that both black boxes had been damaged. The FDR had slight damage, and was downloaded by investigators in a file format, however, the situation was different for the CVR. The CVR coaxial spools were under tension during its normal operating flight, when the tape was severed, the spool would have spun freely which resulted in the release of additional tape into the transport and crash areas. There were some problems with both black boxes, but the data was filtered several times until the audio became reasonably intelligible.
From the FDR data, it was revealed that the flight was uneventful until its final approach. Thirty seconds before the crash, the aircraft descended for seven seconds and leveled off at an altitude of 204 ft, which was below the Decision Altitude of 307 ft, the airspeed then decreased to 145 knots. A few seconds later, there was an increase of speed to 151 knots, indicating that flight crew had initiated a go-around, however, the aircraft had descended well below 204 ft and headed to the left. The crew was unable to recover the plane, and the data ceased functioning when the aircraft speed was at 160 knots.
From the CVR data, 16 seconds before the crash, the Captain called for a go-around, gear up and flaps, a warning horn then sounded followed by a 'too low gear' aural sound. Apparently, the pilots had difficulty in sighting the runway and should have carried a missed approach at the Decision Altitude of 307 ft instead of continuing descent below 204 ft. The flaps were retracted and the gear was extended, but the gear was locked. The 'too low gear' warning then appeared again, and a Ground Proximity Warning System followed.
Investigators conducted an interview with an eyewitness of the crash. The eyewitness was a Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) security guard stationed about 1 km from the runway. He stated that the conditions at the airport were dark skies and light precipitation. He saw the aircraft coming and stated that the aircraft was not stable as it passed over him. He further stated that the approach lights were not on and everywhere was dark and raining. Seconds later, he heard a loud bang, with fire and thick smoke.
Another eyewitness, a Sosoliso Airlines pilot departing to Enugu, also reported adverse weather condition in the airport. Firemen in the airport handling the crash also stated bad weather conditions were present, and they were forced to reposition their equipment due to high wind. This implies that the flight crew wasn't prepared to execute a missed approach at the Decision Altitude as the aircraft descended below the Decision Altitude. Apparently, the crew didn't follow the right procedure for a missed approach. Even if they conducted a successful recovery from adverse weather associated with windshear, the procedure adopted by the crew was improper.
Nigeria Accident Investigation Bureau finally concluded that the probable cause of the crash was due to the crew's decision to continue the approach beyond the Decision Altitude without having the runway in sight. The adverse weather condition was listed as a contributing factor.
Loyola Jesuit College dedicated a Memorial Hall to the deceased students.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) mandates that each family of an air crash victim is entitled to only 3 million naira or US$18,157 from the airline. In January 2009 Harold Demuren, the director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), said that the families of the air crash victims would be compensated and that Sosoliso had already paid $2.3 million into an escrow account to compensate the families.
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
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|Picture of the aircraft while still flying for Serbian Airline JAT – Registration YU-AJH|
- Passenger manifest
- "NATURAL DISASTER CAUSE OF SOSOLISO CRASH." (Archive) Sosoliso Airlines. 21 April 2006.
- Statement on Sosoliso Airlines Crash. Boeing (Archive)