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Last updated: 3 August 2021
Status:Final
Date:Monday 29 January 1996
Time:16:27
Type:Silhouette image of generic C208 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 208 Caravan I
Operator:Sounds Air
Registration: ZK-SFA
MSN: 20800051
First flight: 1985
Total airframe hrs:9515
Engines: 1 Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-114
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Passengers:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Total:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 6
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:18 km (11.3 mls) NE of Blenheim (   New Zealand)
Crash site elevation: 430 m (1411 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Wellington International Airport (WLG/NZWN), New Zealand
Destination airport:Picton-Koromiko Airport (PCN/NZOK), New Zealand
Narrative:
The Cessna departed Wellington (WLG) for a VFR flight at 2000 feet to Koromiko (PCN). While descending for Koromiko Airport the aircraft entered an area of clouds and flew into the heavily wooded eastern slope of Mount Robertson at 1400 feet (430 m) amsl.

Probable Cause:

Causal factors:
- The decision by the pilot to descend beneath the cloud layer.
- Illusions, created by the conditions, producing misleading visual references.
- The pilot's misidentification of distant terrain features.
- An undetected heading error, and loss of "positional awareness".
- Insufficient forward visibility, during the later stages of the descent.
- The high speed of the aircraft.
- The decision making by the pilot: the delayed decision to descend beneath the cloud layer; continued flight into deteriorating conditions.

Contributing / influencing factors:
- The pilot's familiarity with the area, creating a false sense of security.
- Improved general weather conditions, causing the pilot to relax.
- A possible false horizon, created by a sloping cloud base.
- The absence of documented procedures to ensure pilots crossed the coast south of Rarangi.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: TAIC New Zealand
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 149 days (5 months)
Accident number: 96-006
Download report: Final report

Classification:

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» TAIC Investigation 96-006


Follow-up / safety actions

TAIC issued 3 Safety Recommendations

Show all...

Photos

photo of Cessna-208-Caravan-I-ZK-SFA
accident date: 29-01-1996
type: Cessna 208 Caravan I
registration: ZK-SFA
 

Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Wellington International Airport to Picton-Koromiko Airport as the crow flies is 71 km (44 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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