Monday, February 4, 2013

Air Bagan crash in Shan State due to pilot error, says inquiry

Saturday, 02 February 2013 11:27 Saw Zin Nyi

The crash-landing of an Air Bagan airplane in Shan State on Christmas Day was due to pilot error, said Win Swe Tun, the chairman of the Investigation Commission.

The wreckage of Air Bagan's 22-year-old Fokker-100 which crashed en route to Heho in Shan State on December 25, 2012, killing one passenger and one motorcyclist on the ground. ( PHOTO: Htoo Eain)

Speaking at a press conference in Rangoon on Friday, he said that the pilot brought the plane toward Heho Airport at less than 500 feet in thick fog. “The captain made the wrong decision, and so he must bear responsibility for the crash,” said Win Swe Tun.

Two people were killed -- one of whom was on the ground -- and 11 passengers were injured when the 22-year-old Foker-100 attempted to make a crash landing some 2-3 km short of Heho Airport in Southern Shan State on December 25. Heho is the main tourist gateway to Inle Lake, and many foreign visitors were on the plane.

He failed to fly at the correct height, and consequently could not see clearly nor react in time, said Win Swe Tun, adding: “I think the captain’s decision was poor.”

It was disclosed at the press briefing that the pilot has 5,937 flying hours experience, and had flown a total of 2,547 hours for Air Bagan.

The inquiry chairman noted that the pilot did not receive any instructions from the control tower, and that the plane had collided with an electrical pylon at a height of about 500 feet before crashing through trees and impacting a passing motorcyclist on the ground.

Initially, the plane’s black box was sent to Singapore for examination. However, the flight data recorder was burnt, so on December 18 it was transferred to Australia for examination, according to the Investigation Commission.
For more background:
  • Two confirmed dead in Shan State plane crash
  • Air Bagan takes ‘full responsibility’ for fatal crash

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