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Merged: Pel-Air Westwind Ditching off NLK

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Merged: Pel-Air Westwind Ditching off NLK

Old 18th Nov 2009, 13:37
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Merged: Pel-Air Westwind Ditching off NLK

A Pel-Air Westwind on an aeromed flight from Apia-Norfolk has ditched.

Word from the island is fuel exhaustion after 3 approach attempts.

All 6 POB rescued alive by local boat and are in the NLK hospital.

No other information yet.

Ditching at night, yikes.
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Old 18th Nov 2009, 18:25
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Wow, that is incredible!!
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Old 18th Nov 2009, 20:09
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Pel-Air ditching

Wow, the weather can sure get bad out there. They are very lucky. Why go to NLK when Noumea is a closer ILS equipped airport??? When I used to run RPT out to NLK we were always wary of the wx, and needed plenty of gas. How will REX manage this stuff up?
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Old 18th Nov 2009, 20:41
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I'm glad all survived unharmed.

From the Rex website:

CareFlight/Pel-Air Medical Evacuation Incident - Samoa to MelbourneThursday, 19 November 2009

A CareFlight medical evacuation flight operated by Pel-Air Aviation from Apia (Western Samoa) to Melbourne was scheduled to land at Norfolk Island for a planned fuel stop on Wednesday evening when it encountered deteriorating weather conditions.

After several unsuccessful approaches and with diminishing fuel, the pilot-in-command, Captain Dominic James, made the decision to carry out a controlled landing onto the water off the coast of Norfolk Island.

The aircraft, a specially-equipped medical retrieval Westwind jet carried out a successful landing on the water and the patient, accompanying spouse and two medical crew as well as the pilots evacuated safely. They were rescued by boat and brought to the local Norfolk Island hospital for observation. The Captain reported that all passengers and crew did not have any apparent injuries.

John Sharp, Chairman of Pel-Air Aviation said that he was very proud of the Captain and the First Officer. “They performed an intricate landing on water in darkness resulting in the evacuation of everyone safely and quickly. The training of both the Pel-Air and CareFlight crew came to the fore as everyone kept together and remained calm. Their professionalism stood out on the day and made a substantial difference to the outcome.”

“I also want to thank the rescue team and the local authorities for their prompt action and dedication which resulted in a speedy rescue and evacuation to the hospital.”

CareFlight Chief Executive Officer, Derek Colenbrander, said the successful outcome was testimony to the skill and training of the pilots, the prompt action of local authorities and the efforts of the medical team in continuing to care for their patient.

Arrangements are being made for the patient to be repatriated to Australia.
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Old 18th Nov 2009, 20:46
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NLK is not a place you want to be operating into without alternate fuel, regardless of what the forecast says.You can be visual over the sea but have to climb up into the cloud to make the runway !!
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Old 18th Nov 2009, 21:36
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So they went to Norfolk WITHOUT fuel for an alternate?????
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Old 18th Nov 2009, 21:46
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Don't get too worked up .... its only an 'Incident'
I had to go to the Rex site to make sure this wasn't a wind up.
Hats off to the crew for making a safe 'landing'.
I'm sure there will be many factors in this but the main thing is all are safe and the person who wrote that press release will get a job with the PM s office
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Old 18th Nov 2009, 21:55
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Top effort from the crew to salvage a diabolical situation.
However, I have to ask the question is this an why such an operation is permitted in the first place? I have never operated into Norfolk Island, however anecdotally I believe that it is a difficult destination due WX & its remote location.
I find it difficult to believe that to operate into a isolated aerodrome without an alternate is an appropriate for commercial operation, given that other possibilities exist (larger aircraft with greater fuel capacity).
Questions need to be asked of the operator & the regulator.

Here are the METAR's for the 18th November.
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Old 18th Nov 2009, 22:00
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Well done to the crew for a successful ditching! Will be interesting to read the ATSB report on this one.
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Old 18th Nov 2009, 22:29
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So will questions be raised with regards PelAir taking over the RFDS contracts in 2011 (can't remember the locations)??

Can't believe REX named their pilot, is that kosher?

Well done to him and his crew anyway, hard as it gets yeah?
Old 18th Nov 2009, 22:54
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Just wondering if the approaches were conducted during the times of the following metars/speci, if so would not the right place to be without alternate fuel:

METAR YSNF 181030Z AUTO 16009KT 3000NDV // OVC002 19/18 Q1013

SPECI YSNF 181053Z AUTO 16009KT 5000NDV // BKN002 BKN009 OVC014 18/18 Q1014

METAR YSNF 181100Z 14008KT 5000 -SHRA BR BKN005 BKN014 18/18 Q1014

SPECI YSNF 181111Z AUTO 15006KT 3200NDV // SCT003 BKN008 OVC014 19/18 Q1014

SPECI YSNF 181128Z AUTO 15008KT 7000NDV // SCT005 BKN012 OVC017 19/18 Q1014

SPECI YSNF 181134Z 15008KT 8000 FEW006 BKN015 19/17 Q1014 RMK BR
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Old 18th Nov 2009, 23:14
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Not sure when the ditching took place, but here's a weather snapshot of a longer time period. (is there ANYTHING the iPhone can't do??)
Apart from stopping people wasting bandwidth with information already provided by a link by others?

METARs are interesting but can anyone provide the TAFs (and the times they were issued)? That's what'll determine the rights and wrongs of the situation.

UnderneathTheRadar is online now  
Old 18th Nov 2009, 23:20
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Strike three

According to Welcome to Weather Underground : Weather Underground

Temp range 18-23,
Due point 19.
Max humidity 100%
Temp at or below dew point from 8 pm local.

Anyone got a copy of the TAF???

Long range cruise charts, alternate requirements,,,,,,,, ?????,,,,,,,

Dom well done on getting everyone out alive. That is the thing to take away from this.
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Old 18th Nov 2009, 23:25
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Wouldn't it be the case that the majority of aircraft that operate into there WOULDN'T have enough fuel for an alternate given the distances involved?
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Old 18th Nov 2009, 23:40
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Wow! Not a decision I would like to have made

Remember going in their a few years ago where the dew point and reported temps were fast closing.

By the time I got there, the cloud base was too low to even think of commencing an approach, but plenty of clear areas over the water, so short of diverting to Noumea, only alternative was to descend over the water to do a vis approach.
The approach was below cliff height with a climb to the threshold of the rwy.

The FSO recounted of a coastwatch Shrike that almost had to ditch under similar circumstances the day before. I felt for him.

Great job to pull off a ditching at night with quick Jet and recover all persons
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 00:34
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Some more info...

Rescue plane sinks after ditching
November 19, 2009 - 12:26PM
Six people including a sick woman have been rescued after a medical evacuation plane was forced to ditch in the sea off Norfolk Island.

The CareFlight plane was taking a critically ill patient from Samoa to Melbourne and was attempting to make a refuelling stop at Norfolk Island, the Seven Network reports.

Bad weather thwarted three attempts at landing, so the pilot peeled away from the island and put the plane down in the sea about two nautical miles offshore.

The crew and the patient were all able to get safely off the plane before it sank three minutes later.

All six people were forced to tread water, only three of them wearing lifejackets, for about 90 minutes before they were rescued by boat.

All were in shock and suffering from hypothermia but no one suffered major injuries.

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Old 19th Nov 2009, 00:35
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Westwind Ditches at Norfolk Island

Good to see crew and pax ok!

Pilot Dominic James ditches medical evacuation jet in ocean off Norfolk Island | The Australian
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 00:37
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Already here mate...
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 01:11
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Will be very interesting reading when the report comes out.
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 01:29
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Could be lots of issues here, especially planning considerations. That said, well done to the Captain for deciding on a gutsy plan and carrying it out successfully. Must have been awful tense after the 3rd missed approach !
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