DH8C, Kimberley South Africa, 2010
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On 16 July 2010, a Bombardier DHC 8-300 being operated by South African Express Airways hit an animal during a night landing in normal ground visibility at Kimberley after a passenger flight from Johannesburg. The nose landing gear took a direct hit and collapsed but after a temporary loss of directional control, the runway centreline was regained and the aircraft brought to a stop. A ‘MAYDAY’ call was made by the aircraft commander during the deceleration. None of the 44 occupants were injured. The Investigation found wildlife access to the aerodrome was commonplace and the attempts at control inadequate.
An Investigation was carried out by the South African CAA AIID. It was noted that the aircraft had sustained substantial damage to the nose landing gear and lower nose fuselage structure as a result of the impact, which had killed the animal, subsequently identified as an aardvark. The collision was found to have occurred 470 metres from the landing threshold of the 3000 metre long runway when the nose landing gear was still off the ground with the aircraft finally coming to a stop nearly two thirds of the way along the runway.
In respect of the exclusion of hazardous wildlife from an aerodrome, the requirement in ICAO Annex 14 Volume 1 that “a fence or other suitable barrier shall be provided on an aerodrome to prevent the entrance to the movement area of animals large enough to be a hazard to aircraft” was not being met in respect of maintaining the ongoing integrity of the installed fence. The Investigation found widespread evidence of wildlife access to the airfield perimeter and regular reports of wildlife sightings within it including aardvark and antelope.