Saturday, August 29, 2015

First Flying DHC-6-400 skids off runway at Aguni.

On August 28th, First Flying's [DAK] flight DAK101 operated by Viking Air DHC-6-400 Twin Otter JA201D veered off the runway to the right and crashed into the airport perimeter fence after touching down at Aguni [AGJ/RORA] around 0854 JST. All 14 on board, including three crew, evacuated safely, and some were treated for minor injuries at the island sole clinic. This aircraft was delivered in March this year and had only entered service earlier this month (First Flying bids farewell to Islander, welcomes Twin Otter.).

Viking Air DHC-6-400 Twin Otter JA201D seen after crashing into the perimeter fence after skidding off the runway upon landing at Aguni. (Photo: Aguni Airport)

Visibility was reportedly good at 10 kilometers and winds were mild as well at the time of the accident. "Touch down was like any other, but when I deployed the brakes, I felt something unusual as if the tires got locked. Then the aircraft became uncontrollable and skidded off the runway," according to the first officer who was at the controls. The 62-year-old pilot had logged 16,000 total hours, however, the flight was the final part of a 65-hour training on the new DHC-6-400 which would have promoted him to captain. A 57-year-old pilot served as captain on the flight. Crew training on revenue flights are not uncommon.

The right landing gear was torn off and the forward section seems to have significant damage. The aircraft is only six months old. (Photo: Aguni Airport)

Officials of Japan Transport Safety Board (JCAB), a division of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT), arrived at the scene on the following day today on August 29th and designated it an accident. The nose and forward section of the fuselage have been significantly damaged, along with engine number two, while the right landing has been torn off. "It appears the aircraft still had speed when it crashed into the fence. We will tow the aircraft out of the area to examine it, while checking the flight records to investigate how and why it happened," said a JTSB official.

Aguni, which has a single 800-meter runway, will be closed until further notice. First Flying is the only airline serving the island with three-times-daily service connecting it with Okinawa/Naha [OKA/ROAH], the prefecture's capital located 60 kilometers southeast. The remote airport opened for flights in 1978. For the 750 inhabitants, a daily 130-minute ferry ride would become the only means of transport to and from Naha for the time being. First Flying will suspend the 20-minute route until the cause is identified, while it has also confirmed that the launch of new routes from Ishigaki [ISG/ROIG] to Hateruma [HTR/RORH] and Tarama [TRA/RORT], planned for December 1st, would be postponed.

Source: NHK, 2015 August 28th. (in Japanese)
Source: NHK, 2015 August 29th. (in Japanese)
Source: Okinawa Times, 2015 August 29th. (in Japanese)

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