Wreckage of Societe de Transport Aérien (SATA) Caravelle 10 R near Funchal found 34 years after accident
By Urs Wildermuth, created Tuesday, Oct 25th 2011 20:44Z, last updated Tuesday, Oct 25th 2011 21:05Z
The wreckage of a SATA Caravelle 10R, registration HB-ICK, which on Dec 18 1977 landed unintentionally in the water while on the base leg to runway 06 at Funchal/Madeira (Portugal), has been located 34 years after the accident by a diver team at 110 meters depth off the coast.
The aircraft had been operating flight VS-730 from Zurich via Geneva (Switzerland) to Funchal with 52 passengers and 5 crew on board. Shortly before landing, the airplane descended below the prescribed altitude and hit the water in landing configuration on the base leg to runway 06 at Funchal. The aircraft subsequently broke in two parts, the forward section and the rear. 35 passengers and one crew member died of which 16 passengers and the stewardess were never recovered.
The report by the Swiss Accident Investigation Bureau revealed that the flight was operated by two captains, one of which had never landed in Funchal before. The flight should have been conducted by day but fell into night time due to technical problems before departure in Geneva. The instructor dismissed the regular copilot, who was supposed to have been flying the leg as PNF and assumed the function himself, a procedure which the BFU deemed illegal. The instructor assumed therefore the role of assisting pilot on the right hand seat.
During the approach to Funchal, the aircraft was ordered into a circling approach for runway 06. It started to gradually lose altitude during the end of downwind and base leg until it ditched some 2.5nm before the coast abeam Rosario. The aircraft broke in two parts, the aft part with the engines and empennage sinking rapidly, the other part floating for a while. 17 passengers and four crewmembers escaped the wreckage and were rescued from the sea. The rest of the passengers and one crew member drowned.
As the technical possibilities of the days did not allow a recovery effort with reasonable means the wreck was never recovered. Also the Flight Data Recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder were never recovered.
A divers team has now located what appears to be the aft part of the aircraft in 110 meters depth. Video footage shows the empennage plus the engines and some parts of the cabin.
It is questionable if the CVR or FDR, even if recovered after 34 years, would still yield any answers.
Wreckage of Societe de Transport Aérien (SATA) Caravelle 10 R near Funchal (Madeira-Portugal)found 34 years after accident
1 reply to this topic