Accident Airbus A380-861 A6-EEM, Wednesday 10 July 2019
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Date:Wednesday 10 July 2019
Type:Silhouette image of generic A388 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Airbus A380-861
Registration: A6-EEM
MSN: 134
Year of manufacture:2013
Engine model:Engine Alliance GP 7270
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 407
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:Bay of Bengal -   Indian Ocean
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Auckland International Airport (AKL/NZAA)
Destination airport:Dubai Airport (DXB/OMDB)
Investigating agency: GCAA
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Emirates Airlines flight EK449, an Airbus A380-861, was operating a scheduled passenger long-range flight from Auckland Airport (NZAA), New Zealand, to Dubai International Airport (OMDB), the United Arab Emirates. The flight had 407 persons onboard consisting of four flight crew, 25 cabin crew and 378 passengers. In Indian airspace above the Bay of Bengal, the Aircraft experienced severe turbulence at around 2153 UTC, approximately 13 hours after departure from NZAA.
The flight crew during the turbulence encounter was a Captain and a Copilot, who were the augmenting pilots. The Copilot in the right seat was the pilot flying. During cruise at flight level (FL) FL400, the Aircraft encountered turbulence as it flew over an area affected by convective activity with isolated embedded cumulonimbus clouds. The Aircraft airspeed increased and the maximum operating speed was momentarily exceeded. The autopilot and autothrust remained engaged during the turbulence. The thrust adjustment commanded by the autothrust system and the automatic speed brakes deployment were not sufficient to fully avoid the transient speed exceedance.
Fifteen cabin crew were on duty performing passenger services, and nine cabin crew and two flight crew were on scheduled controlled rest. About five minutes before the Aircraft encountered the turbulence, the flight crew had turned the passengers’ seat belt sign to ON.
The on duty cabin crew were not aware that the seat belt sign was ON and no announcement was made for passengers to return to their seats and fasten seatbelts.
The turbulence lasted for about four minutes. Twenty-seven persons onboard suffered injuries. These included thirteen passengers and thirteen cabin crewmembers who sustained minor injuries, and one passenger whose injury was assessed as serious after hospitalization. Several cabin ceiling panels were damaged.
The flight continued to the destination where the Aircraft landed uneventfully.

The Air Accident Investigation Sector determines that the cause of the Accident was the severe turbulence acceleration forces in clear air imposed on the Aircraft as it flew in an area affected by convective activity resulting in several unsecured passengers and cabin crewmembers forcefully impacting cabin furnishings.
Contributing Factors
The Investigation determines that the following were contributory factors to the Accident:
(a) The flight was planned north of an area with forecasted convective activity containing embedded cumulonimbus clouds.
(b) The flight crew did not request updated weather information from air traffic control or pilot reports as the Aircraft approached the area affected by the convective activity over the Bay of Bengal.
(c) The wet turbulence area/s displayed in magenta on the navigation display did not prompt the flight crew to use the WXR best capabilities by using WXR manual
(d) After turning the seat belt sign ON, the flight crew did not communicate with the Cabin Manager to secure the passenger cabins before the onset of the turbulence.
(e) The Cabin Manager and other on duty cabin crewmembers were not aware that the fasten seat belt sign had been switched ON in spite of the fasten seat belt sign flashing for five seconds and fasten seat belt chime sounding.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: GCAA
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report



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