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Ugandan report blames UN crew on plane crash
September 12, 2006,
By charles kazooba
Kampala (AND) A new report says human error by the pilot caused the United Nations' plane crash in the Rwenzori Mountains early this year.
An investigative team comprised of representatives from Uganda, the South African Civil Aviation and the World Food Programme, in their findings, claim the plane crew did not operate the route indicated in the submitted flight plan.
Instead, the crew opted to use administrative flight planning data to execute a direct GPS route.
On April 28, 2006, the representatives of UN's MONUC at Entebbe informed the Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda about a missing aircraft Cessna 208B, registration ZS-ADL.
A search and rescue was initiated and commenced by MONUC to locate the missing aircraft on the same day. Due to adverse weather in the Rwenzori Mountains, the wreckage was not located until April 30, a report presented to the Kampala government on Monday 11, partly reads.
The aircraft, aboard a female passenger and cargo with a crew of two, departed from Goma to Bunia but later changed route to the Rwenzori Mountains where it crashed at 06:47 at an altitude of 12 500 feet above mean sea level.
On impact, the aircraft caught fire and was destroyed. All the occupants died instantly, and were recovered after five days.
The head of investigations, Lt Col (rtd) Chris Mudoola told the press the search and rescue was done by untrained persons.
The aircraft having not had signal equipment complicated the search, Mudoola further said.
Investigations show that the crew took a direct GPS routing contrary to the submitted flight plan route that led to high terrain with clouds and low visibility, resulting in a controlled flight into terrain.
In addition, the flight crew lacked prior familiarisation for the Goma-Bunia route.
According to the report, there was positive communication between the aircraft and the aircraft control radar (ATC) up to 15 nautical miles, and thereafter with MONUC's flight following units.
However, the last communication with the aircraft was with UN's flight following unit in Beni when the crew requested for weather update for Beni airport.
The investigators recommended that Uganda and the DR Congo discourage aircrafts without visual equipment from flying over the Rwenzori Mountains.
Kampala Bureau, AND