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Friday, December 20, 2013
Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 runway excursion in Tanzania
December 19, 2013
Incident: Ethiopian B763 at Arusha on Dec 18th 2013, fuel emergency, landing on short runway and runway excursion
An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767-300, registration ET-AQW performing flight ET-815 from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) to Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), could not land in Kilimanjaro due to a disabled light aircraft on the runway and entered a holding. The crew subsequently declared emergency due to low fuel and diverted to Arusha for a safe landing on runway 27 (length 1620 meters/5300 feet) at 13:15L (10:15Z). At the end of the runway the aircraft turned left as if attempting to turn around for backtracking and came to a stop with all gear on soft ground. No injuries occurred, the aircraft received no visible damage.
The airline confirmed the aircraft diverted because a Cessna was disabled on the runway of Kilimanjaro, however, did not explain why the aircraft diverted to Arusha (27nm from Kilimanjaro Airport) with too short a runway rather than diverting to Mombasa (Kenya, 154nm from Kilimanjaro) or Nairobi (Kenya, 127nm from Kilimanjaro) featuring suitable runways.
An investigation has been opened into the occurrence.
Ground witnesses report, that the crew managed to bring the aircraft to a full stop just before the end of the runway, but then attempted to maneouver the aircraft to backtrack the runway which is when they went off paved surface.
A listener on frequency reported the aircraft was sent into a holding at Kilimanjaro NDB (KB, 293kHz) southwest of Kilimanjaro Airport and south of Arusha Airport. Arusha’s runway was visible from the holding with the same orientation as Kilimanjaro’s runway (09/27 at 3600 meters length). The crew thus obviously believing to land at Kilimanjaro Airport touched down at Arusha.