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Occurrence Report Details
Report Details
Investigation 96-006
Cessna 208 Caravan ZK-SFA, collided with heavily wooded terrain, 10 nm north-east of Blenheim, 29 January 1996
At 1627 hours on Monday 29 January 1996, ZK-SFA a Cessna 208 Caravan, collided with heavily wooded terrain on the eastern slopes of Mount Robertson, 10 nm north-east of Blenheim. The aircraft had departed from Wellington on a scheduled flight to Picton Aerodrome (Koromiko). The five passengers lost their lives in the accident, but the pilot survived.

Causal factors identified were: descent under a cloud layer; misidentification of terrain features; loss of "positional awareness"; insufficient forward visibility; the high speed of the aircraft; and the pilot's decision making.

Safety issues identified included: the need to develop company operating procedures that ensure aircraft do not stray into high terrain; taking the necessary steps to ensure pilots use all the available resources for accurate navigation under VFR; and the documenting of recommended airspeeds and aircraft configuration for VFR flight with reduced visibility.

Three safety recommendations were made to the operating company.

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