NYC01LA054
NYC01LA054

On December 6, 2000, at 2038 eastern standard time, an Embraer 120RT, N504AS, operating as Atlantic Southeast Airways flight 71, was substantially damaged when it collided with deer during landing roll-out at Yeager Airport (CRW), Charleston, West Virginia. The 3-person crew and 15 passengers were uninjured, and 1 passenger received serious injuries. The accident occurred at night, during visual meteorological conditions. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, between The William B. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Atlanta, Georgia, and Yeager Airport. The scheduled passenger flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 121.

According to the captain, within seconds of landing on runway 23, the airplane struck two deer. The flight attendant then contacted the cockpit crew, and informed them that there was an injured passenger. After parking at the gate, a walk-around inspection revealed that the tip of a propeller blade from the number 2 engine had separated, and punctured the airplane's fuselage.

Weather at the time of the accident included overcast skies and light snow.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, one of the deer was hit by the nose landing gear and the other was hit by the right engine propeller. The separated blade tip was about 4 inches long and 3 inches wide. It entered the cabin just aft of frame 21, between stringers 14R and 15R. The passenger was sitting in seat 3C.

A review of the tower audio recording revealed that an airport runway inspection had commenced shortly before the accident, but that the inspection vehicle had not yet reached the area where the accident occurred.

An airport inspection following the accident revealed breaches in the perimeter fence, in gully areas near the approach end of runway 15, and abeam runway 23, about 1,300 feet from the runway threshold.

According to the airport authority's assistant director, a wildlife inspection program was in effect at the time of the accident. Inspections of airport surfaces, including the one noted in the audio recordings, were conducted twice daily.

Higher deer activity was typically observed between October and January due to the mating season. Perimeter fence maintenance inspections, which were conducted monthly, were scheduled to be increased during upcoming fall and winter seasons, due in part, to the higher volume of deer at that time. A program to clear the fence line of all brush and weeds, and remove all trees and brush inside the fence, was scheduled to commence in the spring of 2002.

The Airport Authority was also authorized to eliminate deer as needed. While the program had been conducted within the perimeter fence for over 2 years, as a result of the accident, it was expanded to include deer near the perimeter fence as well.

At the time of the accident, a wildlife management study had been approved by the FAA. The yearlong study, to include management procedures, was scheduled to begin in August 2001.

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