ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737-8AL 5Y-KYA Douala Airport (DLA)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Saturday 5 May 2007
Type:Silhouette image of generic B738 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-8AL
Operator:Kenya Airways
Registration: 5Y-KYA
MSN: 35069/2079
First flight: 2006-10-09 (7 months)
Total airframe hrs:2100
Engines: 2 CFMI CFM56-7B26
Crew:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 108 / Occupants: 108
Total:Fatalities: 114 / Occupants: 114
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:5,5 km (3.4 mls) SE of Douala Airport (DLA) (   Cameroon)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Douala Airport (DLA/FKKD), Cameroon
Destination airport:Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO/HKJK), Kenya
Flightnumber: 507
A Boeing 737-800 passenger plane, registered 5Y-KYA, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Douala Airport (DLA), Cameroon. All 108 passengers and six crew members were killed in the accident.
The airplane was operated by Kenya Airways as flight KQ507 from Abidjan Airport (ABJ), Ivory Coast to Nairobi (NBO), Kenya via Douala (DLA), Cameroon. The flight from Abidjan to Douala was reportedly conducted without incident.
The flight arrived about 22:00 hours local time, May 4. The scheduled departure time of 23:00 was delayed due to weather which consisted of thunderstorms with heavy rain showers. When the weather improved, flight 507 taxied to runway 12. The aircraft took off and climbed into the dark night. There were no external visual references, yet no instrument scanning was done by the crew. At 1000 feet climbing, the pilot flying released the flight controls for 55 seconds without having engaged the autopilot. The bank angle of the airplane increased continuously by itself very slowly up to 34 degrees right and the captain appeared unaware of the airplane’s changing attitude.
Just before the "Bank Angle" warning sounds, the captain grabbed the controls, appeared confused about the attitude of the airplane, and made corrections in an erratic manner increasing the bank angle to 50 degrees right.
At about 50 degrees bank angle, the autopilot was engaged and the inclination tended to stabilize; then movements of the flight controls by the pilot resumed and the bank angle increased towards 70 degrees right. A prolonged right rudder input brought the bank angle to beyond 90 degrees. The airplane descended in a spiral dive and crashed into a mangrove swamp.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "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 cause this situation."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CCAA
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 years
Accident number: Final report
Download report: Final report

Loss of situational awareness
Loss of control

» Kenya Airways press release
» Kenya Airways plane crashes in Cameroon: radio (AP, 5-5-2007)
» Reconstructing the last moments of Kenya Airways Flight 507 (AP, 12-5-2007)
» Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority press release

Follow-up / safety actions

CCAA issued 3 Safety Recommendations

Show all...


photo of Boeing-737-8AL-5Y-KYA
accident date: 05-05-2007
type: Boeing 737-8AL
registration: 5Y-KYA

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 Douala Airport to Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as the crow flies is 3066 km (1916 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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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