Accident Learjet 35A N17UF, Sunday 9 November 2014
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Date:Sunday 9 November 2014
Type:Silhouette image of generic LJ35 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Learjet 35A
Owner/operator:Diplomat Aviation (Bahamas) Ltd
Registration: N17UF
MSN: 35A-258
Year of manufacture:1979
Total airframe hrs:12046 hours
Cycles:10534 flights
Engine model:Garrett TFE731-2-2B
Fatalities:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:6,4 km SW of Freeport-Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO) -   Bahamas
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Nassau-Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS/MYNN)
Destination airport:Freeport-Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO/MYGF)
Investigating agency: AAIPU
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A Learjet 35A, registered to Diplomat Aviation (Bahamas) Ltd and operating as a charter flight for the Bahamas Faith Ministries International clipped a crane and impacted shipyard terrain while on approach to runway 6 of the Grand Bahamas International Airport in Freeport. The aircraft was destroyed and all nine occupants onboard were fatally injured.
The airplane departed Nassau-Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) on an IFR flight plan for a 24-minute flight to Freeport.
The aircraft made contact with Freeport ATC as required and was given the current weather conditions and cleared for the instrument ILS Z 06 Approach. The aircraft was unable to land on the first attempt, due to heavy rain showers and reduced visibility. The crew executed a missed approach procedure and continued outbound and entered the published holding pattern at 2,000 feet. Some time after entering the holding pattern, ATC reported the weather as improving and thus a second ILS Z 06 approach was requested by the crew and granted by ATC. During the return for the second instrument approach, ATC reported the weather as again deteriorating due to rain and haze.
The crew deliberately continued descending below the published minimum altitude for this approach while attempting to find the runway visually. Repeated warnings about altitude and terrain proximity from the onboard Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS) were ignored. One of the crew disabled the warning alert system and continued with the “Before Landing Checks”.
The crew continued the descent while looking visually for the runway until the aircraft right wing struck the crane positioned at Dock #2 of the Grand Bahama Shipyard. The impact occurred with two support beams above the crane operator's cab approximately 115 feet mean sea level.
After losing the outboard portion of the right wing and fuel tank, as a result of the impact, the aircraft continued its downward, uncontrolled descent, crashing inverted into a mound of garbage at the City Services Limited, a garbage and metal recycling plant which is located adjacent to the Grand Bahama Shipyard. The aircraft finally came to a stop after impact with a metal generator-housing unit located at the recycling plant.

An ILS Z approach procedure is available for runway 6 at Freeport. The Locator Outer Marker (LOM) is located at 4 DME and immediately after the LOM, approach charts show the presence of two cranes with a height of 368 and 369 feet (112 m).
According to a Notam, the PAPI lights of runway 6 were unserviceable at the time of the accident.

The AAIPU has determined that the probable cause of this accident was:
"The poor decision making of the crew in initiating and continuing a descent in IMC below the authorized altitude, without visual contact with the runway environment."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AAIPU
Report number: A14-005111
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 3 months
Download report: Final report



  • 20th worst accident in 2014
  • 2nd worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 2nd worst accident of this aircraft type at the time


Revision history:


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