Sudan Airways Flight 109

Sudan Airways Flight 109 was a scheduled international AmmanDamascusKhartoum passenger flight, operated with an Airbus A310 by the flag carrier of Sudan, Sudan Airways. On 10 June 2008, at approximately 17:00 UTC, the Airbus A310 crashed on landing at Khartoum International Airport, killing 30 of the 214 occupants on board.[1][2][3]

Sudan Airways Flight 109
Sudan Airways A310-300 ST-ATN DXB 2008-4-11.png
The aircraft involved in the accident is seen here on approach to Dubai International Airport in April 2008 (2008-04)
Accident
Date10 June 2008
SummaryRunway overrun due to long flaring distance
SiteKhartoum International Airport, Khartoum, Sudan
15°35′22″N 32°33′11″E / 15.58944°N 32.55306°E / 15.58944; 32.55306Coordinates: 15°35′22″N 32°33′11″E / 15.58944°N 32.55306°E / 15.58944; 32.55306
Aircraft
Aircraft typeAirbus A310-300
OperatorSudan Airways
IATA flight No.SD109
ICAO flight No.SUD109
Call signSUDANAIR 109
RegistrationST-ATN
Flight originQueen Alia International Airport, Amman, Jordan
1st stopoverDamascus International Airport, Damascus, Syria
Last stopoverPort Sudan New International Airport, Port Sudan, Sudan
DestinationKhartoum International Airport, Khartoum, Sudan
Occupants214
Passengers203
Crew11
Fatalities30
Injuries17
Survivors184

The investigation was conducted by Sudan's Air Accident Investigation Central Directorate with assistance from the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA). The investigation concluded that the accident was caused by the long flaring distance of the flight on a wet runway, aggravated with the non-deployment of the autobrake and one of the Airbus A310's two engine reversers. The inclement weather condition and the crew's lack of information on the weather were cited as contributing factors. Following the accident, Sudan's Air Accident Investigation Central Directorate issued several recommendations, mainly on better training and better infrastructure on the airport.[4]

Aircraft and crewEdit

The aircraft involved in the accident was an Airbus A310-324, c/n 548, tail number ST-ATN, that had its maiden flight on 23 August 1990 as F-WWCV.[5] Equipped with twin-PW4152 powerplants, it was delivered new to Singapore Airlines on 22 October 1990 and registered 9V-STU.[5][6] Re-registered VT-EVF, it was delivered to Air India on 10 March 2001.[5] The aircraft was finally registered ST-ATN, and was delivered to Sudan Airways on 1 December 2007.[5] According to Airbus, it had accumulated 52,000 flight hours and 21,000 cycles.[7]

The 60-year-old captain had logged 14,180 flight hours, including 3,088 hours on the Airbus A310. The 50-year-old first officer had 9,879 hours, with 3,347 of them on the Airbus A310.[4]: 14 

DescriptionEdit

The flight originated in Amman, the capital of Jordan, with its final destination in Khartoum, Sudan with an intermediate stop in Syrian capital of Damascus. Jordanian officials stated that the aircraft carried 34 passengers in Amman, while in Damascus it carried another 169 passengers. However, a sandstorm and heavy rain prevented the aircraft from landing in Khartoum, and forced the crew to divert to Port Sudan. The aircraft was later allowed to fly back to its original destination.[8]

As the flight approached Khartoum, the flight crew were informed on the weather. Flight 109 later got clearance from air traffic controller and began to land on the airport. The flight landed at Khartoum Airport at 17:26 UTC, but was not able to stop within the length of the runway. The aircraft overran the runway and came to rest 215 metres (705 ft) beyond the end of runway 36. A fire then erupted on the starboard side of the aircraft.[4]: 8 

As fire started on the right side of the aircraft, slides were deployed only on the left side. The fire was reported as intense, which managed to get inside the cabin, causing thick smoke while passengers were evacuating. The thick smoke, aggravated by the fact that the accident happened at night time, hampered the evacuation process. Panicked passengers further aggravated the condition. Passengers were not briefed at all on the safety procedure. Communication between crew members were ineffective and hand luggage caused further delay on the evacuation process. As the rear left slide could not be used due to the height of the aircraft, passengers had to use either the middle or the forward left slide, causing a pile-up. While the pile-up happened, the fire quickly spread to the forward fuselage and the cockpit.[4]: 9 

The airport was immediately shut down due to the accident. Rescue services were deployed to the crash site. However, the rescue operation was hampered by the shortage of search and rescue personnel, the lack of communication equipment among rescue personnel, rough surfaces around the crash site, lack of emergency exit routes and participation of civil defense fire vehicles. Multiple ambulances were mobilized to the airport to take injured passengers to hospitals across Khartoum. One bus was deployed to take surviving passengers for examination.[4]: 35 

CasualtiesEdit

In the immediate aftermath of the crash, news media stated that up to 120 people might have been killed in the accident, as the head of medical services, Major General Muhammad Osman Mahjoub, reported Reuters that there were 120 bodies on the site.[9] The number was later reduced to 100[10][11] and was later revised to 28 as officials discovered that many of the survivors had left the scene, hence mistakenly declared as dead or missing. The number of people who were declared missing reached 53, before being revised down to 14.[8]

People on board by nationality[12]
Nationality Passengers Crew Total
Sudan 201 11 212
Iraq 2 0 2
 Total 203 11 214

Additionally, news media reported that 17 people were treated for mild injuries, including the pilot of the flight. An additional 111 people reportedly survived without any injuries. The final report, however, did not specify any injuries on the passengers and the crew members.[4]: 9 [9]

According to the final tally, out of 203 passengers and 11 crew members on board the aircraft,[4]: 8  29 passengers and 1 crew member lost their lives.[4]: 9  Many of the casualties were children with disabilities, as well as seniors returning from treatment in Amman.[13]

A state funeral for the passengers and crew member who died on the flight was held in Khartoum on 11 June. The funeral was attended by Sudan President Omar al-Bashir and several senior state officials. The funeral ceremony was attended by more than 5,000 people.[14]

Notable passengersEdit

Abbas al-Fadini (Member of the Parliament of Sudan) was on board the flight and survived unscathed.[15]

InvestigationEdit

Thoughts on the causes of the crash were initially split into several theories. Most survivors stated that as the aircraft overran the runway, a fire immediately developed on the right wing of the aircraft. They also confirmed that prior to its landing that the weather was rough. Several people, including Sudan Airways, blamed bad weather as the main cause of the incident.[16]

However, several officials also blamed "defects" on the aircraft as the cause of the accident. Director of Khartoum International Airport Youssef Ibrahim stated that the crash was caused by an explosion on the right engine. He reiterated that the aircraft had landed safely and that the pilots were talking with ATC workers when the crash happened. Several survivors also reported that an explosion had occurred on the right engine.[17]

Other survivors also blamed the pilots for a "very rough" landing. The Civil Aviation Authority of Sudan stated that the pilots might have caused the aircraft to land hard on the runway. The rough landing might have caused "cylinders" to blow.[18][17]

Sequence of EventsEdit

Investigators analysed multiple findings and made a sequence of events based on the findings. These findings include data from both flight recorders, weather data, information on the airport infrastructure and data collected from flight simulation.

Prior to Flight 109's landing, the crew had been informed on the weather condition in the airport. Khartoum Tower reported that a tailwind was present at the airport. Pilots were also informed on the precipitation in the airport. As Flight 109 got its clearance to land, the crew prepared the aircraft for landing.[4]: 37 

Flight 109 touched down at 19:26 local time. The indicated airspeed was 140 knots, while the ground speed was 155 knots. This indicated that the aircraft was struck by a 15 knots tailwind. The crew, however, didn't realize this. Due to this, Flight 109 touched down at about 850 - 900 meters from the runway threshold.[4]: 37 

The runway was noted as "very slippery", causing friction coefficient to be greatly decreased. The pilot, however, decided not to deploy the autobrake, even though the controlled had informed him on the slippery runway. The aircraft continued to roll on the runway. The crew then decided to deploy the thrust reverser. The deactivated left engine thrust reverser caused an asymmetrical power, as the aircraft started to veer to the right. The pilot managed to get the aircraft back to the centre line.[4]: 37 

The captain then applied full braking on both pedals. The wheels locked and the anti-skid was turned off. Flight 109 the overran the runway at a speed of 76 knots. The right wing then hit some antennae and approach lights. The aircraft had already suffered some kind of fuel leakage on the left wing and right wing. As the aircraft hit some structures on the ground, it severed the leakage. The fire then started when the aircraft came to a full stop.[4]: 38 

ConclusionEdit

The overrun was caused by a combination of a long landing flare, the wet runway, landing without autobrakes, and landing with the port thrust reverser deactivated.[4]: 39  The inoperative reverser caused the plane to veer to the right when the captain activated reverse thrust in both engines.[19] Low visibility and heavy rain and winds were also present at the time of the accident.[20] Contributing to the long landing flare was the fact the crew had been incorrectly informed that they had a 7-knot (13 km/h; 8.1 mph) headwind for landing, when they actually had a 15-knot (28 km/h; 17 mph) tailwind.[4]: 39 

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 5 June 2012.
  2. ^ Heavens, Andrew (11 June 2008). "Dozens killed in Sudan air crash". The Independent. Reuters. Archived from the original on 11 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Passenger plane crashes in flames in Sudan". CNN. Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Final Report: Accident involving Sudan Airways Airbus 310, Registration ST-ATN, At Khartoum Airport, On 10th of June 2008 at 1726 UTC" (PDF). Air Accident Investigation Central Directorate, Sudan Civil Aviation Authority. 3 November 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 June 2014 – via Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety.
  5. ^ a b c d "Airbus A310 MSN 548". www.airfleets.net. Airfleets aviation. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  6. ^ "Accident information : Airbus A310 Sudan Airways ST-ATN". www.airfleets.net. Airfleets aviation. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  7. ^ Learmount, David (13 June 2008). "Sudan A310 "veered off runway" during landing". Flightglobal. Flight International. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Dozens die in Sudan jet inferno". BBC News. 10 June 2008. Archived from the original on 11 June 2014.
  9. ^ a b "120 feared killed in Sudan plane crash". The Guardian. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  10. ^ "Up to 100 dead in Sudan air crash". RTE.ie. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  11. ^ "BREAKING NEWS: Sudanese plane crashes at Khartoum Airport". Sudan Tribune. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  12. ^ Heavens, Andrew (10 June 2008). "At least 30 killed in Sudanese airliner blaze". Reuters. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Sudan Airways Airbus crashes at Khartoum airport". Sudan Tribune. 10 June 2008. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  14. ^ "Survivor of Sudan jetliner fire says: 'It was panic'". Toronto Star. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  15. ^ "At least 28 die in Sudan air crash disaster". The Times. London. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2008.(subscription required)
  16. ^ "Officials adjust Sudan plane crash death toll to 28: report". CBC News. CBC. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Probe into Sudan's plane inferno". BBC News. BBC. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  18. ^ "Miracle of surviving Sudan inferno". BBC News. BBC. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  19. ^ Kaminski-Morrow, David (8 April 2013). "Fatal Sudan A310 overrun crew unaware of tailwind". London: Flightglobal. Archived from the original on 17 April 2015. 
  20. ^ "14 still missing after air crash blaze". CNN. 11 June 2008. Archived from the original on 5 June 2012.

External linksEdit