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BAe 146 Whisper Jet Crash



UPDATE: After talking with the Insruance Surveyor it seems that they had done a go-around and re-circuited for the runway but gone through the extended centreline at low level and impacted a hill while thinking they were still on a base leg.

This morning at 8.00am East Indonesian Time (UTC+9) an Aviastar BAe 146 Whisper Jet registration PK-BRD crashed into terrain near Wamena Airport in Papua.  

PK-BRD was used almost exclusively on the Sentani-Wamena route flying multiple times a day with both Passengers and Cargo. On this flight there are believed to have been 6 people on board and a large amount of cargo.

Some reports suggested they had attempted to land in low cloud (the airport has no instrument approaches), aborted the landing and then crashed. Other reports suggest the conditions were visual at the time (most likely as cloud does not build until late morning, early afternoon in this area) and the aircraft was on a base leg for landing when it impacted terrain.

This crash comes just days after an Air Force Fokker F27 Friendship crashed into a hangar at Bandung Airport, West Java in very poor weather conditions killing all 24 on board. The crash of PK-BRD is the second major multi-engine aircraft accident in Papua this year after a Trigana DHC-6 Twin Otter overran the runway in Beoga, in that accident there were no fatalities. But that accident was Trigana’s seventh in a Twin Otter since 2000.

This is all very said but the unfortunate reality is that there seems to be very few lessons being learnt about aviation safety in Indonesia as many of these accidents have similar characteristics.

You can become somewhat complacent working in Papua, the initial shock of the challenging environment does wear off quite quickly. But the the reality is that it is one of the most challenging flying environments in the world and like everywhere else not kind to stupidity. I certainly feel fortunate that I can trust the people I fly with to act safely when we fly.

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