On 5 May 2007, a Boeing 737-800 operated by Kenya Airways on a scheduled passenger flight from Abidjan to Nairobi with a planned stopover at Douala, Cameroon crashed shortly after a dark night take-off from Douala. Loss of control was followed by a high speed inpact with terrain. All 114 occupants on board were killed and the aircraft was destroyed by the ground impact.
The investigation of the accident was carried out in accordance with Annex 13 guidelines by a Special Accident Investigation Commission established by the Republic of Cameroon CAA. This found that after take-off from Douala, the AP had not been initially engaged and the aircraft had exhibited a slight tendency to roll to the right “due to the combined effects of the inherent asymmetry from construction and the slightly right positioning of the rudder trim”. The Investigation concluded that this tendency could have been easily corrected with left aileron input, but this was not done. After the bank angle had progressively increased without any compensation for it from the PF, a spiral dive was entered from which a late attempt to regain control was not successful and terrain impact followed. The Investigation was unable to positively establish whether flight crew lack of awareness of AP engagement status lacking but noted that the AP had not been engaged until a very late stage in the flight.
The Investigation found that:
"The airplane crashed after loss of control by the crew as a result of spatial disorientation (non recognized or subtle type transitioning to recognized spatial disorientation), after a long slow roll, during which no instrument scanning was done, and in the absence of external visual references in a dark night."
"Inadequate operational control, lack of crew coordination, coupled with the non-adherence to procedures of flight monitoring, confusion in the utilization of the AP, have also contributed to this situation."
The Investigating Commission made three Safety Recommendations, the first two of which are addressed primarily to the CAA of Kenya (KCAA):
- “KCAA and all State Administrations that issue licenses for aviation operations should ensure that they harness the necessary structures and means to approve and follow up amendments and revisions of manuals.”
- “KCAA and all State Administrations that issue licenses to aviation operations, ensure that companies put in place an organization that enhance the application of manuals, and decision making in matters of safety especially as concerns technical flight crews.”
The third Recommendation had no specified addressee:
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