Accident Boeing 777-3DZER A7-BAN, 04 Dec 2016
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 191876
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Time:05:00 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic B77W model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 777-3DZER
Owner/operator:Qatar Airways
Registration: A7-BAN
MSN: 38246/925
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 356
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location:115nm north of Lajes, Terceira, Azores -   Portugal
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Washington-Dulles International Airport, DC (IAD/KIAD)
Destination airport:Doha-Hamad International Airport (DOH/OTHH)
Investigating agency: GPIAAF Portugal
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
On December 4th, 2016, at 01:57, Qatar Airways flight number QR708, a Boeing 777-300ER registered A7-BAN, departed from Washington Dulles International Airport, USA with destination Doha-Hamad International Airport, Qatar. While crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a random route, at approximately 05:00, a moderate turbulence started, which prompted the flight crew to activate the fasten seat belts sign and instructed the cabin crew to remain seated and secured.
Seven minutes later, the airplane encountered severe turbulence, at FL310, causing loose items, including some unsecured passengers, to fly inside the cabin with enough intensity to hit the ceiling.
Two more moderate turbulence episodes occurred afterwards, and then, with the airplane finally stabilized, the cabin crew started assessing the injuries and damages.
A doctor with credentials was located among the passengers, and he immediately started attending the injured passenger.
After inquired by the Pilot in command, the doctor confirmed that the injured passenger had a life threatening condition, and decision was made to initiate a diversion to the closest suitable airport, Lajes Airport, at Terceira Island, Portugal.
At 06:19 the crew contacted Lajes Approach, reported that they had a medical emergency, and then started to dump fuel to reduce the landing weight. They landed uneventfully in LPLA at 06:56 UTC, where medical support was standing by to receive the injured passengers.
A total of five passengers were taken to the local hospital for additional medical care.

Probable causes:
Encounter with severe clear air turbulence (CAT), due to strong and dry winds at high altitude.
Contributing factors:
The lack of precipitable moisture in the air, like clouds for instance, prevented the premature detection of unstable regions by the onboard meteorological radar.
Some passengers got injured for not properly following the captain’s command to fasten the seat belts.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: GPIAAF Portugal
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 9 months
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

05-Dec-2016 19:19 AF5541 Added
05-Dec-2016 19:27 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
24-Sep-2018 19:17 harro Updated [Time, Total occupants, Source, Narrative, Accident report, ]
24-Sep-2018 19:18 harro Updated [Narrative]

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