A runway excursion incident at Saint Barthélemy airport in the French Antilles yesterday has left a DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft and an AS350 helicopter with serious damage.
The collision between an Air Antilles DHC-6 and a West Indies AS350 helicopter occurred at Saint Barthélemy airport (SBH) in the French Antilles on Thursday August 24 at 11.42am local time.
Runway excursion and collision
The DHC-6-400 Twin Otter aircraft reportedly experienced a runway excursion during the landing roll and left RWY 28, impacting the AS350 helicopter which was parked on the helicopter platform area, located near the taxiway.
It appears that the helicopter was parked and not manned at the time of the impact. Video footage of the incident shows the moment that the twin turboprop commuter aircraft ran into the stationary helicopter.
Taking the impact of the collision on its port wing, the force of the impact was strong enough to knock the helicopter over and sever the Twin Otter’s wing at the wing root.
News source RCI cited the local Departmental Fire and Rescue Service of Saint-Barthélémy as saying that a total of eight people were on board the Twin Otter at the time of the accident, with one woman sustaining light injuries.
Suspension of operations
It is understood that flight operations at the Caribbean island Saint Barthélemy airport were suspended temporarily to permit investigation of the incident, with the local Gendarmie confirming the suspension, and posting photos of the damage sustained.
“The gendarmes proceeded to the freezing of the premises, the installation of seals and the drone flight to allow the proper conduct of the investigation by the Air Transport Gendarmerie Brigade (BGTA) from Raizet to Abymes, including the arrival of personnel is scheduled for this Friday,” said the Gendarmerie of Guadleloupe and the Northern Islands in a social media post.
Air Antilles statement
CAIRE, the parent company of the operator Air Antilles, subsequently released a press statement, confirming:
“The incident occurred at 11:42 a.m. on flight 3S722 from Pointe-à-Pitre to Saint-Barth. The aircraft is a Twin DHC6 registered F-OMYS.”
“At this stage, according to the captain, there are no injuries to be declared. 6 passengers and 2 crew members were on board this flight. Our plane during landing struck a helicopter which was on the parking lot.”
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