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Last updated: 18 September 2021
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 20 March 2018
Time:19:45
Type:Silhouette image of generic DHC6 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300
Operator:Bald Mountain Air Services
Registration: N716JP
MSN: 527
First flight: 1977-02-01 (41 years 2 months)
Total airframe hrs:29299
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:225 km (140.6 mls) N of Deadhorse, AK (   United States of America)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:?
Destination airport:Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse Airport, AK (SCC/PASC), United States of America
Narrative:
The wheel-equipped DHC-6 Twin Otter airplane, N716JP, struck a pedestrian after takeoff from a remote sea ice airstrip, about 140 miles (225 km) north of Deadhorse, Alaska. The pedestrian sustained serious injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The captain, first officer, and the three passengers on board the airplane were not injured.
The purpose of the flight was to provide logistical support of ICEX 2018, which involves, in part, U.S. Navy and U.K Royal Navy submarines operating beneath the frozen Arctic Ocean during a 5-week exercise. The flight used an airstrip on the sea ice that was lined on both sides with snow berms. The airstrip included one runway oriented north/south and an intersecting runway oriented east/west. Weather conditions at the time of the accident consisted of clear skies with ice pack haze. The sun was low on the horizon, resulting in shadows on the airstrip, and flat light conditions made it difficult to discern topographical features.

The pedestrian reported that, just before the two pilots boarded the airplane, he told the captain that he would position himself alongside the airstrip so that he could photograph the airplane at departure. As the airplane back-taxied before takeoff, the pedestrian positioned himself clear of the airstrip and behind a 3- to 4-ft-tall snow berm. He said that, as the airplane's takeoff progressed, it did not climb as quickly as it had during previous departures and that the last thing he remembered before the collision was seeing the left wing getting lower to the ground as the airplane began a left turn and flew toward him while continuing to accelerate.
A security video camera recorded the accident sequence, and the recording supported the pedestrian's account of the sequence of events. Although the captain reported that he climbed the airplane before initiating a left turn, the review of the video revealed that the flight crew operated the airplane at a low altitude and along a flightpath that placed it in dangerous proximity to the pedestrian (which was inconsistent with federal regulations) and left no margin to avoid the collision with him.
A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed substantial damage to the left wing and left aileron. The pedestrian sustained a serious head and neck injuries because of the collision, and he was subsequently medevacked to Anchorage, Alaska for treatment.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause: The flight crew's improper decision to deliberately operate the airplane at low altitude and along a flightpath that resulted in a collision with a pedestrian after takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the pedestrian's proximity to the runway.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: ANC18LA027
Download report: Summary report

Sources:
» NTSB


Photos

photo of DHC-6-Twin-Otter-300-N716JP
accident date: 20-03-2018
type: de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter 300
registration: N716JP
 
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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