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2020-12 eng

Report on an accident at sea approx. 11 NM south of Mandal, Norway on 22 June 2019 involving a Piper PA-28-161, LN-MTJ, operated by Sola Flying Club

The Police requested The Flight Service in the Norwegian Air Sports Federation to search for a supposedly dead person in the sea south of Mandal. LN-MTJ, a Piper PA-28-161 stationed at Sola, took off from Kjevik at 1217 hours and set course for the assigned search area. After a short search period, the engine lost power. Although the commander was able to restart the engine, it could not prevent the aircraft from hitting the sea at approximately 1255 hours.

The plane sank immediately, however the three on board evacuated quickly and inflated their lifejackets. They were rescued after almost six hours in the sea. The unconscious commander was flown to Ullevål University Hospital in Oslo (OUS) where he later died. 

The AIBN has identified several deficiencies in the organization, planning and implementation of the search that took place. These relate in particular to communication and surveillance of the flight. The AIBN issues two safety recommendations in connection with this investigation. 

Safety recommendation

Safety recommendation SL no. 2020/10T

On 22 June 2019, the police requested assistance from the voluntary Flight Service to search for a person presumed dead (SEAO) in the sea south of Mandal. During the search at low altitude over the sea, LN-MTJ’s engine lost its power and the aircraft ended up in the sea. The AIBN has identified several deficiencies related to the organization, planning and implementation of the search, which led to the death of one person and two people being left in the sea for about six hours before they were rescued.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, in dialogue with the Civil Aviation Authority assess whether, in future, searches above the open sea should be conducted only by professional services with equipment suitable for the increased risks associated with such operations.

Safety recommendation SL no. 2020/11T

On 22 June 2019, a search for a person presumed dead (SEAO) was conducted at low altitude over the sea south of Mandal when the engine of LN-MTJ lost its power and the aircraft ended up in the sea. One of the three people on board died and two were saved after almost six hours in the sea without survival equipment. The AIBN's investigation has revealed that no actual risk assessment was conducted prior to the search (SEAO) and that the search was conducted without a robust communication plan.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the NLF revise its guidelines for the Flight Service to ensure that each mission is subject to a through risk assessment, that a communication plan is prepared and that the required measures are implemented prior to the flight.

Facts

Occurrence date 22.06.2019
Aircraft Piper PA-28 Cherokee/Arrow/Archer m.fl.
Registration LN-MTJ
Meteorological conditions VMC
County Agder
Type of occurrence Accident
Type of operation Private (club)
Category of operation Light, aeroplane (< 5 700kg)
Aircraft category Landplane, Single-engine, Piston engine
FIR/AOR ENSV (Stavanger ATCC)

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