NTSB Identification: LAX07CA077.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, January 31, 2007 in Kaunakakai, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/25/2007
Aircraft: Bombardier, Inc. DHC-8-103, registration: N979HA
Injuries: 1 Serious,5 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The airplane encountered severe turbulence during an en route descent and a captain who was deadheading was not secured in his seat and received serious injuries. The airplane was being positioned to another airport, and had a deadheading flight crew on board. Prior to the descent, the captain noted an airspeed anomaly for the existing power setting. He also observed that the flap indicator showed a "slight" deployment of the flaps. He requested that the deadheading captain look out a cabin window, and verify the flap position. The deadheading captain reported to the flying captain that the flaps were in the fully retracted position. About this time, ATC personnel requested that a descent be initiated, which the flight crew initiated by reducing the power to slow down the airplane. As the deadheading captain was making his way back to his cabin seat, the airplane encountered severe turbulence, which lasted about 5 to 10 seconds. He was thrown about the cabin and injured. The flying captain declared an emergency. The flight landed without incident, and taxied to the gate where the injured crewmember was transported to the hospital. A review was conducted of the ATC air-ground recordings between Maui approach control (APCON), two other airplanes flying in the area, and the accident airplane (Moku 979). Prior to Moku 979 checking in with Maui approach, the two other airplanes reported moderate turbulence at 4,000 feet, and moderate to occasional severe turbulence between 2,000 and 2,500 feet. Both airplanes were about 15 miles east of Maui, in the general vicinity of the accident airplane. The controller contacted FSS, and advised them of the PIREP's. About 75 seconds later, Moku 979 reported in to the approach control. The controller told them to "expect lower in 5 miles." The controller did not advise Moku 979 of the reported turbulence in the area. Ninety-five seconds later the controller instructed Moku 979 to begin a descent to 1,500 feet. Fifteen seconds later Moku 979 declared an emergency and reported the injury.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: an in-flight encounter with clear air turbulence, which resulted in a serious injury to a deadheading crewmember. Full narrative available
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