TANS Perú Flight 204
OB-1809-P, the aircraft involved in the accident, seen at Jorge Chávez Int'l Airport on 3 August 2005.
|Date||23 August 2005|
|Aircraft type||Boeing 737-244 Advanced|
|Flight origin||Jorge Chávez Int'l Airport
|Stopover||Captain Rolden Int'l Airport
|Destination||Crnl. FAP F. S. Vignetta Int'l Airport
TANS Perú Flight 204 refers to a domestic scheduled Lima–Pucallpa–Iquitos passenger service, operated with a Boeing 737-200 Advanced, that crashed on 23 August 2005 on approach to Pucallpa Airport, 4 miles (6.4 km) off the airfield, following an emergency landing attempt because of bad weather, killing 40 of the 98 passengers and crew aboard.
The aircraft involved in the accident was a 1981-built Boeing 737-244 Advanced, registered OB-1809, which had been leased to TANS Perú from the South African lessor company Safair two months prior to the accident occurrence. With manufacturer's serial number 22580 and powered with two Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17A engines, the airframe had its maiden flight on 4 August 1981, and was originally delivered to South African Airways. At the time of the accident the aircraft had accumulated 49,865 flight hours and 45,262 cycles, and was 24 years old.
Description of the accident
There was an unusual developing cold front in the vicinity of Pucallpa, minutes before the event took place, with cloud tops estimated to be 45,000 feet (14,000 m) high. Instead of diverting to another airport, the crew initiated the approach to Pucallpa Airport with torrential rain, hail and strong winds. Some ten minutes before the scheduled time for landing the aircraft started rocking. Realising that the airport could not be safely reached amid the worsening weather conditions, the pilot attempted an emergency landing. The aircraft was flying through a hailstorm for the last 32 seconds of its ill-fated flight when it was seemingly taken down by a wind shear, hit tree tops, impacted terrain in a swamp located 3.8 nautical miles (7.0 km; 4.4 mi) ahead of the runway threshold, broke up as it crash landed and burst into flames, leaving a path of debris and flaming fuel 100 feet (30 m) wide and 0.8 nautical miles (1.5 km; 0.92 mi) long. The wreckage of the airplane was engulfed by the fire.
There were 91 passengers and seven crew members on board; 35 passengers and five crew— lost their lives in the accident.:7 Non-Peruvian occupants of the aircraft included 11 Americans, one Australian, one Colombian, and one Spaniard; Italians were also aboard, but the actual figures for them depend upon the source. Most of the fatalities were recorded for passengers travelling in the front of the aircraft. Fifty-eight people survived the accident, many of them suffering serious injuries, mostly burns and broken limbs.
Investigation of the crash site was hindered by looters, who descended upon the crash and stole various elements to be sold for scrap. A US$500 (equivalent to $613.14 in 2016) reward did succeed in securing the return of the flight data recorder. After 312 days of investigations, there were no reports of any technical malfunction. The official cause of the accident was determined to be pilot error for not following standard procedures under adverse weather conditions. The pilot took control of the plane, but the co-pilot did not immediately monitor the instruments; as a result, the crew did not notice the rapid descent in the few crucial seconds they had where they could have accelerated out of danger. According to Aviation Safety Network, the accident ranks among the deadliest ones that took place in 2005. It was also the second major crash involving a TANS Perú airplane in slightly over two years.
In the media
- Delta Air Lines Flight 191, another incident involving wind shear
- Lauda Air Flight 004, another event involving looters at the crash site
- Southern Airways Flight 242, another incident involving hail
- TANS Perú Flight 222
- "OB-1809P Final Report" (PDF) (in Spanish). July 2006. p. 68. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 May 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- Ezard, Kerry (25 August 2005). "TANS confirms 57 survivors in 737-200 crash". Flightglobal. Washington D.C. Flight International. Archived from the original on 11 May 2012.
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 16 December 2011.
- "TANS OB-1809-P aircraft history". Airfleets.net. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- "58 walk away from Peruvian plane crash". USA Today. 25 August 2005. Archived from the original on 11 May 2012.
- "Plane crashes in Peruvian jungle". BBC News. 24 August 2005. Archived from the original on 11 May 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- Corderi, Victoria (30 September 2005). "Escape from flight 204". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 11 May 2012.
- "Data recorder from Peru plane crash found". ChinaDaily. 31 August 2005. Archived from the original on 27 June 2014.
- "Accident record for 2005". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Accident record for TANS Perú". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
- "At least 41 dead in Peruvian plane crash". The New York Times. Lima. 24 August 2005. Archived from the original on 11 May 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
In January 2003, a TANS twin engine Fokker 28 turbojet, plowed into a 11,550-foot (3,465-meter) high mountain in Peru's northern jungle, killing all 42 passengers – including eight children – and four crew members aboard.
- http://www.rd.com/content/openContent.do?contentId=31982[dead link]
- "Mayday Season 12, Episode 5: Lack of Vision". Archived from the original on 27 June 2014.
Investigators face a major challenge when looters make off with the Flight Data Recorder from the crash of TANS Peru Flight 204. Wreckage allows investigators to rule out engine failure. But with no FDR, it will take all their ingenuity to reconstruct the final moments of the flight and figure out why the 737 crashed into the jungle, just 4 kilometers short of the runway.