Fire Service

FIREFIGHTER HISTORY 5/26

Firefighter Close Calls - 1 hour 41 min ago

5/26/1828 a Manhattan, New York firefighter died in a building collapse during a fire. “In just a few minutes, an arson fire, which had been set in a livery stable, had spread to six or seven frame dwellings. Despite the valiant efforts of firefighters to stop the further spread of the flames, the fire then spread to a theater through the wooden cornice. The building rapidly became fully involved, resulting in the collapse of the roof and walls shortly after. As a wall and the cornice fell to the street, the firefighter was caught under it and was crushed to death. It was weeks before his mangled body was dug out of the rubble.”

5/26/1836 a Manhattan, New York firefighter was killed while operating at a fire.

5/26/1930 a District of Columbia (Washington DC) firefighter died “while trying to locate the seat of a fire at the Stein’s Store Fixture Factory at #120 Q Street N.E. He was blinded by the dense smoke and fell down an open elevator shaft. He suffered a severe skull fracture and was killed.”

5/26/1936 “While operating at a 20,000-acre forest fire that swept through the Pine Barrens in two New Jersey counties, five firefighters were killed, and six others seriously burned, when a wall of fire swept over their position. The six men that were injured were also CCC men and were all hospitalized with serious burns.”

5/26/1958 two Highland Park, NJ firefighters were two of more than 100 firefighters who responded to a fire that erupted at Ten Broeck Motors Inc., 209-211 Woodbridge Ave., a few minutes after midnight. Armed with a fire hose, the two men ascended to the roof and fought the flames from above. Before the firefighters could control the massive blaze, the roof caved in and eventually collapsed. The two firefighters plummeted into the burning structure, falling onto fiery debris and broken glass.”

5/26/1971 a Calgary, Alberta, Canada firefighter ”while aggressively attacking a fire in Suite #12, 2nd-floor rear of the McTavish Block, 815 Macleod Trail SE and after making a rescue of an occupant, the firefighter indicated he was having difficulties and while attempting to leave the fire area, collapsed. He was removed to the street and given resuscitation. The ambulance in attendance took him to the Calgary General Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 24:00.”

5/26/1982 an Ashville, North Carolina firefighter died of trauma injuries after being trapped

5/26/1897 Hermantown, MN, seven miles from Duluth, a farmer was thawing dynamite, to be used in clearing his land, over a fire when it exploded killing him and his two young sons and injured his wife and another small son.

5/26/1954 the USS Bennington fire killed 103 off Rhode Island coast.

5/26/1991 a plane crashed in Thai jungle that killed 223.

5/26/1985 explosions destroyed two tankers off of Gibraltar, 30 died.

5/26/1945 the U.S. started to drop fire bombs on Tokyo

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

MAN ASSAULTS FIRE POLICE IN PA

Firefighter Close Calls - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 20:32

A city man who lived in a home that caught fire Friday faces aggravated assault charges after police said he was drunk and allegedly struck a fire police officer during the active fire.

Samual Swartzlander, 30, of 40 S. 7th St., the scene of Friday’s fire that left seven people homeless, faces felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor charges of simple assault. Police said they were dispatched to the scene of the fire about an hour after it ignited.

Sunbury police officer Earl Johnson said officers arrived at the fire at around 5:23 p.m. and once the city fire department arrived officers cleared the scene. About an hour later, Johnson said officers were called back to the scene.

Swartzlander allegedly was told by a fire police officer to back away from the blaze. When Swartzlander refused the fire police officer said he was going to radio for police, Johnson said.

Swartzlander told the fire police officer that if he was going to call police he would give him something to call them about and then allegedly punched the fire police officer in the head with a closed fist, Johnson said. Firefighters told police they took Swartzlander to the ground and waited for police.

Johnson said Swartzlander’s speech was slurred and was unable to walk a straight line without being assisted.

Swartzlander was arraigned before Milton District Judge Mike Diehl this morning. Bail was set at $50,000 cash.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

MEXICAN NAVY HELICOPTER CRASHES FIGHTING WILDFIRE

Firefighter Close Calls - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 20:30

A Mexican navy helicopter with five crew on board crashed Friday while helping to fight a forest fire.

The navy said it was searching for any survivors from the crash, which occurred in the north-central state of Queretaro.

The MI-17 helicopter, which took off from Valle Verde in the neighboring state of San Luis Potosi, was carrying a helibucket with 2,500 liters of water to fight the fire, the navy said in a statement, without giving further details of the accident.

“We hope with all our hearts to find them alive,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said during a political rally in San Luis Potosi.

He said authorities have not been able to reach the accident site because “it is very difficult terrain.”

Central Mexico has suffered hundreds of wildfires in recent months due to low rainfall and high temperatures.

A lack of wind and rain have prevented the smoke from dissipating, which worsened the air quality of the capital Mexico City to such an extent that authorities last week declared an environmental alert and warned residents to avoid physical activity outdoors.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

CANCER LODD IN TEXAS

Firefighter Close Calls - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 18:40

By Alyssa Woulfe, WFAA:

Fort Worth fire Capt. Keven Teague died Friday after suffering complications from pancreatic cancer, which he developed from smoke inhalation as a firefighter.

He was a 24-year veteran of the Fort Worth Fire Department.

Because Teague died from a cancer caused by smoke inhalation, his death is considered in the line-of-duty, according to the Michael Glynn, the president of the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association.

A GoFundMe page was set up prior to his death to help his family pay for medical expenses. He is survived by his wife and their two children.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

FIREFIGHTER HISTORY 5/25

Firefighter Close Calls - Sat, 05/25/2019 - 03:21

5/25/1890 two Lincoln, NE firefighters “died from the injuries they sustained after operating at a barn fire. They were inside when the upper floor loaded with burning hay collapsed and fell on them.”

5/25/1912 a Houston, Texas firefighter “met his demise when a heavy building timber fell on him as he and his crew were fighting a large inferno in downtown Houston. The fire, started in the Stowers Building, destroyed it and three other buildings on May 19, 1912. He fought valiantly for his life in Saint Joseph Hospital for the six days following the accident. He never regained consciousness after surgery was performed in a final attempt to save his life.”

5/25/1958 two Highland Park, NJ firefighters died “while operating a handline on an arch truss roof at a fire involving a car dealership, they were killed when the roof collapsed, plunging them into the roaring fire.”

5/25/1978 two Bethpage, NY firefighters died “while making an aggressive interior attack on a two-alarm fire in a pool supply outlet. They were caught in a flashover on the first floor. Both became disoriented in the blaze and burned to death. Due to heavy chlorine fumes, dense smoke, heavy fire, and a roof collapse, their bodies weren’t recovered until 12 hours later.”

5/25/1979 “a seemingly routine fire at a woman’s boutique became a rumbling inferno when a wall collapsed in a fiery shower of brick and glass, killing five men and injuring at least 25 others in Shelby, NC. The four Shelby firefighters and one gas company employee were killed. Firefighters were at JE’s, a women’s clothing store in downtown Shelby for about 10 minutes and thought they had the blaze under control. Then there was an explosion without warning whatsoever. The building just fell around them.”

5/25/1979 a Jacksonville, FL firefighter “was killed while attempting to rescue workers trapped in the hull of a burning oil barge at the Jacksonville Shipyards. Overwhelmed by gas fumes, he fell off a 40-foot ladder as he was rushing to reach the workers and lead them to safety. Twenty-one firefighters and six barge crewmen were injured in the fire.

5/25/1979 a Detroit, Michigan firefighter died from injuries received during a HazMat incident.

5/25/1843 the three-story brick Hotel Dixie on the corner of Monroe Street and Saint Augustine Street in Tallahassee, Florida was built in 1825 originally called the Washington Hall Hotel was the start of a fire that spread north consuming several wood-frame houses, stores and a warehouse. The fire was stopped by 200 foot wide buffer street (Park Avenue). This fire led to a city ordinance requiring brick structures in the downtown; several people were arrested and charged with arson; however, no one was convicted.

5/25/2015 thirty-eight people were killed and six injured in a fire at a privately-run rest-home that housed fifty-one residents in Pingdingshan in Henan province, central China about 500 miles south of capital Beijing.

5/25/2014 a school bus fire killed sixteen children and a teacher in central Pakistan 112 kilometers north of Lahore, apparently caused by a spark when the driver of the dual-fuel van switched from natural gas to petrol.

5/25/2011 a fire on board the U.S.S. Miami, a Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, damaged the torpedo room, crew quarters and command and control areas in the front of the submarine at the Portsmouth, NH Naval Shipyard.

5/25/1983 a fire in Nassermeer Egypt killed 357.

5/25/1947 a coal dust explosion rocked Centralia Coal Co’s Mine #5 killing 111. “The Mine Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor reported the explosion was caused when an underburdened shot or blown-out shot ignited coal dust.” “American folksinger Woody Guthrie wrote and recorded a song about the Centralia mine disaster entitled The Dying Miner.”

5/25/1887 Comiqué Opera House fire in Paris, France leaves 200 dead that was started by a gas lamp.

5/25/1986 the ferry boat Shamia sank on the Maghna River in Bangladesh, 600 died.

5/25/1979 an American Airlines DC-10 crashed in Chicago, IL that killed 275 after losing one engine just after takeoff.

5/25/1961 JFK asked Congress to support the space program.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

BOSTON FIREFIGHTERS FIGHT AGAINST CANCER CAUSING FLAME RETARDENTS

Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 20:30

Jay Fleming is a booming Boston firefighter who has climbed the ranks since 1978. He has two engineering degrees, a no-nonsense manner and thick accent.

For the last seven years, he has applied his considerable wit to banning flame retardant chemicals in Massachusetts, which might sound counterintuitive to those not steeped in the byzantine logic of American chemical regulation.

“Firefighters are like the canary in the mine,” said Fleming. “If there is a problem with these chemicals, we’re going to get it,” said Fleming. “We’re exposed to the highest level.”

Fleming has watched colleagues die of cancer since he started in the department. His father was also a firefighter. He died of lung cancer in an era when few firefighters wore masks, let alone the rebreathers available today.

But now, that diagnosis feels less exotic than news his peers get – findings of kidney, bladder and thyroid cancers. The legislator who once carried the bill to ban fire retardants, former firefighter and senator Ken Donnelly, himself died of brain cancer at just 66. Fleming blames flame retardants, some of which have already been designated as likely to cause cancer and which have been found to disrupt the endocrine system, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Already, new generations of the products have been introduced since concerns were first raised about their safety, effects on the human body and persistence in the environment.

“When they started to transition to this plastic stuff [in the home], it just produced smoke that was a lot more irritating,” said Fleming. Firefighters never said to “add flame retardants, they just said address the plastics problem, because it’s killing us [from the smoke while fighting fires] … The solution to adding chemicals to the furniture was to add more chemicals to the furniture.”

READ MORE HERE: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/24/massachusetts-flame-retardants-firefighters-safety-cancer

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

DC FIREFIGHTERS STRUCK WHILE WORKING ON THE ROADWAY!

Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 20:27

A vehicle struck and injured three firefighters who were responding to a crash on the 14th Street Bridge during the Friday evening rush.

One firefighter’s condition was upgraded from critical to serious, D.C. Fire and EMS said. The two others have minor injuries.

Fire officials said the group of first responders were helping someone who suffered a medical emergency when a car struck them.

The driver stayed at the scene.

The person with the medical emergency was taken to a hospital. Their injuries are unclear at this time.

Drivers should expect delays. The inbound Express Lanes on the bridge remain blocked by the crash investigation.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Three DC firefighters struck on bridge over Potomac River

Statter 911 - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 18:30

One firefighter serious with non-life threatening injuries

The post Three DC firefighters struck on bridge over Potomac River appeared first on Statter911.

Categories: Fire Service

FIREFIGHTER BREAKS LEG IN FALL DOWN STAIRS, REQUIRED SURGERY

Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 18:16

By Debbie Wachter, New Castle News:

A New Castle fireman reportedly underwent surgery today after he broke his leg while fighting an early-Friday morning fire in Mahoningtown.

Assistant city fire chief David Joseph reported that firefighter Shawn Johnson, 48, was taken to UPMC Jameson Hospital, then transferred to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh with a suspected lower multiple fracture.

The firefighters reportedly were searching the upstairs of the two-story home, based on reports that someone was in the house at 220 E. Clayton St.

As they were descending, Johnson fell down the stairs and fractured his right lower leg, Joseph said. The other firefighters removed him from the house and took him to an ambulance.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

OHIO FIREFIGHTER INJURED, TREATED AT SCENE AT HOARDER HOUSE FIRE

Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 18:08

WHIO:

A fire broke out at a home in the 800 block of Hodapp Avenue that cause heavy damage and left one firefighter with minor injuries early Friday morning.

The fire started just before 3 a.m. The occupants of the home were asleep on the first floor when the fire started on the second floor, said Mike Fasnacht, district chief for the Dayton Fire Department.

Everyone got out safely and called 911.

There were lots of flames and heavy smoke coming from the second floor when firefighters arrived, Fasnacht said.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

ALABAMA FIREFIGHTER BURNS HANDS AT HOUSE FIRE

Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 17:56

WBRC:

Officials with Birmingham Fire & Rescue say a firefighter was injured while fighting a house fire Thursday afternoon.

Crews were called to a scene located on 66th Street and Division Avenue in Birmingham around 2 p.m.

The unidentified firefighter received minor burns to his hands and was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Today is Friday the 24th of May, 2019 – The start of Memorial Day Weekend

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 07:22
Honor. Remember. Never forget.

This coming Monday is Memorial Day, a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in our country’s armed forces.

This entire three-day weekend is about a lot more than barbecues, baseball and the beach, and it’s not a patriotic celebration of military might, it is a remembrance of the 1 million plus casualties of all our wars who never made it home.

National Moment of Remembrance

The “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed in December of 2000 and asks that at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”

 

Now here are the stories to close out this week…

Everyone have a safe weekend!

Tom

The post Today is Friday the 24th of May, 2019 – The start of Memorial Day Weekend appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

This Week Marks 40 Years Since American Airlines Flight 191 Crash Killed 273 People In Chicago

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 07:04

CHICAGO (CBS)–This week marks the 40th anniversary of the day 271 doomed passengers and crew boarded an American Airlines plane at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. They never set foot on the ground in Los Angeles as they planned.

The air disaster on May 25, 1979 was set in motion when the plane’s left engine suddenly broke off as it departed the runway, damaging both the wing and hydraulic systems, causing the plane to roll as it tried to ascend.

Just 31 seconds after takeoff, the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 had plunged into the ground, black smoke billowing toward the sky on the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.

Everyone on board Flight 191 was killed. Two people on the ground also died.

The plane crashed into an open field off Touhy Avenue in Elk Grove Township, and wreckage scattered onto a trailer park.

Smoke and flames were visible for miles to the thousands of drivers on the roads for Memorial Day weekend travel.

The crash today remains the deadliest commercial aircraft accident in U.S. history.

https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2019/05/21/ohare-disaster-40th-anniversary/

The post This Week Marks 40 Years Since American Airlines Flight 191 Crash Killed 273 People In Chicago appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

Small Plane Crashes Into House In McKinney

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 07:02

McKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A small plane crashed into the back of a house in the 200 block of Black Bear Drive in McKinney Thursday afternoon. 

Two people on the plane were rushed to the hospital.

The McKinney Fire Department said no one on the ground was hurt, but the home suffered serious damage.

The FAA said the plane is Piper PA 28.

It crashed about a quarter mile west of the Aero Country Airport.

Homeowner Jamillah Foster told CBS 11, the plane came within about ten feet of her 1-year-old son when it crashed through the back of their home.

“I was scared. I mean immediately I didn’t know what happened,” said Foster. “I thought it was some kind of explosion. It was just so loud.”

Foster said she rushed to her living room to see the wreckage.

She said she immediately thought, ‘Where are my three children?’

“I was in a full blown panic. I felt like I was having panic attacks,” she said. “Thank God the baby was fine, he cried a little bit. I  just snatched him up and was looking for the three year old.”

Her two other children were fine.

This family said they’ve been told they can’t stay here right now, but the Red Cross is helping them to figure out their next move.

https://dfw.cbslocal.com/2019/05/23/small-plane-crashes-house-mckinney/

The post Small Plane Crashes Into House In McKinney appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

Pilot, aviation student escape unharmed after helicopter crash at Cahokia airport

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 06:58

By Nassim Benchaabane St. Louis Post-Dispatch

CAHOKIA • A helicopter pilot and an aviation student escaped unharmed after their helicopter crashed Tuesday at St. Louis Downtown Airport.

They were returning from a flight training session about 2:40 p.m when the helicopter crashed on the airport’s secondary runway, said Patti Beck, a spokeswoman with Bi-State Development. Bi-State owns the airport.

The airport’s secondary runway was closed after the crash. The primary runway remained open to air traffic.

Beck did not have more details.

The helicopter had taken off from the airport shortly after 2 p.m. and flew about 25 miles over the Metro East, according to the online flight tracking site FlightAware. It was set to arrive at the airport at about 2:45 p.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration was called to the scene to investigate the cause of the crash.

https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/pilot-aviation-student-unhurt-after-helicopter-crash-at-cahokia-airport/article_a22b71e0-0c61-5256-babe-af92725c8fd2.html

The post Pilot, aviation student escape unharmed after helicopter crash at Cahokia airport appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

Pittsfield Helicopter Crash Under Investigation

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 06:56

By Benjamin Cox

A man walked away from a helicopter crash in Pike County yesterday. Pike County Sheriff’s Department reported a helicopter crash just east of County Highway 3, north of Pittsfield, at around 11:40AM on Thursday.

According to a press release from the Pike County Sheriff’s Department, the Bell 206 Helicopter crashed while crop spraying a wheat field. The pilot of the helicopter, 26-year-old Reiss Herbert of Perry, Louisiana walked away uninjured. The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Pittsfield Fire Department, Pike County EMS, and the Pike County Emergency Management Agency all responded to the scene.

http://wlds.com/news/pittsfield-helicopter-crash-under-investigation/

The post Pittsfield Helicopter Crash Under Investigation appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

NTSB Releases Preliminary Report In Vans RV-6 Accident In Washington State

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 06:55

Two Fatally Injured When The Plane Went Down

The NTSB has released a preliminary report from an accident involving a Vans RV-6 airplane which went down April 29 near Ridgefield, WA resulting in the fatal injury of the two people on board. 

According to the report, the experimental, amateur-built Van’s Aircraft RV-6 airplane, N90LK, impacted in shallow water near Ridgefield, Washington at an unknown time. The private pilot/owner and flight instructor were fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. VFR conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Grove Field Airport (1W1), Camas, Washington at 1402.

According to representatives of the Clark County (WA) Sheriff’s Office, a pilot telephoned them about 1611 to advise that he observed a crashed airplane in a body of water just south of Daybreak Airport (W46), La Center, Washington. A ground check by law enforcement personnel located the wreckage about 1,000 ft south-southeast of the approach end of runway 31, and the two occupants were deceased. No witnesses to the accident have been located. According to the pilot/owner’s wife, the purpose of the flight was to conduct the pilot’s biennial flight review.

No radio communications between the airplane and any Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control facilities have been located. A review of FAA ground tracking radar data revealed a series of radar returns that appeared to be associated with the accident airplane and flight. The first radar return was captured at 1404:28, and indicated that the airplane was located about 0.6 miles northeast of 1W1. No altitude data was associated with that return, but the next return (at 1404:33) indicated an altitude of 1,100 ft. The airplane climbed to and leveled off at about 1,500 ft for about 4 minutes. It then descended to about 1,300 ft for about 30 seconds, then climbed to about 2,400 ft for about 2 minutes, and then entered a steady descent to the end of the data. The last radar return was recorded 1413:42. At that time the airplane was at an altitude of 500 ft. The radar data indicated that the airplane tracked north-northwest towards W46, and then entered a track similar to a left downwind leg for runway 13 that was offset about a half-mile to the east. The airplane then flew a left 180° turn, and flew a track approximating a close-in (about 0.2 miles) left downwind leg for runway 31. The last recorded return was situated on this leg, approximately midfield.

The field elevation of 1W1 was listed as 429 ft, and W46 as 25 ft. Published data indicated that right traffic patterns were to be used for both runway 13 and 31 at W46.

FAA records indicated that the accident airplane was built in 1990 by the accident pilot, and was equipped with a Lycoming O-320 series engine. The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued in March 2017, at which time he reported a total flight experience of 1,500 hours. He also held an FAA Repairman Certificate for his RV-6 airplane.

FAA records indicated that the instructor held airline transport and flight instructor certificates with airplane instrument, airplane single-engine, and airplane multi-engine land ratings. He also held type ratings in six different turbojet models. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued in August 2018, at which time he reported a total flight experience of 20,000 hours.

The automated weather observations at an airport located about 10 miles west of the accident site, for the period 1353 to 1453, included winds from 060° at 6 knots or less, visibility 10 miles, and clear skies.

The automated weather observations at an airport located about 13 miles south of the accident site, for the period 1353 to 1453, included winds between 200° and 300° at 6 knots, visibility 10 miles, and clear skies.

(Source: NTSB. Image from file. Not accident airplane)

FMI: Preliminary report

The post NTSB Releases Preliminary Report In Vans RV-6 Accident In Washington State appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

Today in History

ARFF Working Group - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 06:52

24 Years ago today: On 24 May 1995 a Knight Air Embraer 110P1 Bandeirante crashed near Leeds/Bradford Airport, U.K. following the failure of both artificial horizons; all 12 on board were killed.

Date: Wednesday 24 May 1995 Time: 17:51 Type: Embraer EMB-110P1 Bandeirante Operating for: Knight Air Leased from: Euroair Registration: G-OEAA C/n / msn: 110256 First flight: 1980 Total airframe hrs: 15348 Engines:Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 Crew: Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3 Passengers: Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9 Total: Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12 Aircraft damage: Destroyed Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair) Location: 10 km (6.3 mls) NE of Leeds/Bradford Airport (LBA) (   United Kingdom) Phase: En route (ENR) Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger Departure airport: Leeds/Bradford Airport (LBA/EGNM), United Kingdom Destination airport: Aberdeen-Dyce Airport (ABZ/EGPD), United Kingdom Flightnumber: NE816

Narrative:
On the morning of 24 May 1995 the aircraft had returned to its base at Leeds/Bradford from Aberdeen, U.K. on a scheduled passenger flight landing at 09:44 local time. The crew, which was not the one later involved in the accident, stated that all of the aircraft’s systems and equipment had been serviceable during the flight. Some routine maintenance was performed on the aircraft which was later prepared for a scheduled passenger flight, NE816, to Aberdeen. It was positioned at the passenger terminal where it was taken over by the crew which was to operate the service, comprising the commander, who occupied the left hand seat, the first officer and a flight attendant. Nine passengers were boarded.
The weather at Leeds/Bradford Airport was poor with Runway Visual Range (RVR) reported as 1,100 metres; scattered cloud at 400 feet above the aerodrome elevation of 682 feet and a light south-easterly wind. It was raining and the airfield had recently been affected by a thunderstorm. The freezing level was at 8,000 feet and warnings of strong winds and thunderstorms were in force for the Leeds/Bradford area.
The crew called ATC for permission to start the engines at 17:41 hrs. Having backtracked the runway to line up, the aircraft took-off from runway 14 at 17:47 hrs and the crew was instructed by ATC to maintain the runway heading (143°M). The aircraft began to turn to the left shortly after becoming airborne. One minute and fifty seconds after the start of the take-off roll and as the aircraft was turning through a heading of 050° and climbing through 1,740 feet amsl, the first officer transmitted to Leeds/Bradford aerodrome control: “Knightway 816 we’ve got a problem with the artificial horizon sir and we’d like to come back.” The aerodrome controller passed instructions for a radar heading of 360° and cleared the aircraft to 3,000 feet QNH. These instructions were read back correctly but the aircraft continued its left turn onto 300° before rolling into a right hand turn with about 30° of bank. About 20 seconds before this turn reversal, the aircraft had been instructed to call the Leeds/Bradford approach controller.
The aircraft was now climbing through an altitude of 2,800 feet in a steep turn to the right and the approach controller transmitted: “I see you carrying out an orbit just tell me what i can do to help”. The first officer replied: “Are we going straight at the moment sir” The controller informed him that the aircraft was at that time in a right hand turn but after observing further radar returns he said that it was then going straight on a south-easterly heading. The first officer’s response to this transmission was: “Radar vectors slowly back to one four then sir please”.
The controller then ordered a right turn onto a heading of 340°. This instruction was correctly acknowledged by the first officer but the aircraft began a left hand turn with an initial angle of bank between 30° and 40°. This turn continued onto a heading of 360° when the first officer again asked “Are we going straight at the moment sir” to which the controller replied that the aircraft looked to be going straight. Seconds later the first officer asked: “Any report of the tops sir”. This was the last recorded transmission from the aircraft, although at 17:52 hrs a brief carrier wave signal was recorded but it was obliterated by the controller’s request to another departing aircraft to see if its pilot could help with information on the cloud tops.
At this point, the aircraft had reached an altitude of 3,600 feet, having maintained a fairly constant rate of climb and airspeed. The ATC clearance to 3000 feet had not been amended. After the controller had confirmed that the aircraft appeared to be on a steady northerly heading, the aircraft immediately resumed its turn to the left and began to descend. The angle of bank increased to about 45° while the altitude reduced to 2,900 feet in about 25 seconds. As the aircraft passed a heading of 230° it ceased to appear on the secondary radar. There were four further primary radar returns before the aircraft finally disappeared from radar.
There had been a recent thunderstorm in the area and it was raining intermittently with a cloud base of about 400 feet and a visibility of about 1,100 metres. Residents in the vicinity of the accident site reported dark and stormy conditions. Several witnesses described the engine noise as pulsating or surging and then fading just prior to impact. Other witnesses saw a fireball descending rapidly out of the low cloud base and one witness saw the aircraft in flames before it stuck the ground. All of the occupants died at impact. From subsequent examination it was apparent that, at a late stage in the descent, the aircraft had broken up, losing a large part of the right wing outboard of the engine, and the right horizontal stabiliser. There was some disruption of the fuselage before it struck the ground.
The airborne structural failure that had occurred was the result of flight characteristics which were beyond the design limits of the aircraft following the loss of control shortly before impact.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: “The following causal factors were identified:
i) One or, possibly, both of the aircraft’s artificial horizons malfunctioned and, in the absence of a standby horizon, for which there was no airworthiness requirement, there was no single instrument available for assured attitude reference or simple means of determining which flight instruments had failed.
ii) The commander, who was probably the handling pilot, was initially unable to control the aircraft’s heading without his artificial horizon, and was eventually unable to retain control of the aircraft whilst flying in IMC by reference to other flight instruments.
iii) The aircraft went out of control whilst flying in turbulent instrument meteorological conditions and entered a spiral dive from which the pilot, who was likely to have become spatially disoriented, was unable to recover.” (AAIB)

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