16th June 2012

A passenger plane is written off at Jersey Airport

The undercarriage of a Blue Islands plane collapsed at Jersey Airport when it put down at the end of an 11-minute flight from Guernsey. The ATR-42 was carrying 43 passengers and crew, all of whom escaped, with four suffering minor injuries.

The incident closed the airport on one of the busiest days of the year, stranding more than 5000 passengers. The accident was caused by fatigue on the left brace attached to the landing gear.

Unexpected accident

There was no indication of what would happen during the flight or its final approach. It was a good day for flying, with light wind and visibility in excess of 10km. However, according to the Air Accident Investigation Branch, “just after touchdown both pilots heard a noise and the commander stated [that] the aircraft appeared to settle slightly differently from usual. This made him believe that a tyre had burst.”

But it wasn’t a tyre.

“A member of ground operations staff… reported to the tower controller that the left landing gear leg of the aircraft did not appear to be down properly as it passed him. The aircraft continued to quickly roll to the left until the left wingtip and propeller contacted the runway… the tower controller, seeing the incident, pressed the crash alarm and airfield emergency services were quickly in attendance.”

Passengers alert

Inside the fuselage, passengers reported a smell of burning, and as soon as the aircraft came to a halt they were out of their seats and heading for the rear exit.

The plane, which had been flying for 26 years, was written off due to the damage being beyond economical repair. Its first operator had been Cimber Air, in February 1986, but over the years it had also flown on the fleets of Lufthansa CityLine, Air Botswana and bmi British Midland among others. It had taken on the Blue Islands livery three years before its loss. The aircraft was broken up in March the following year.


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