Aussie Westwind ditches at sea-at night, all survive . . .

A CareFlight medical evacuation flight operated by Pel-Air Aviation form Apia (Western Soma) to Melbourne was scheduled to land at Norfolk Island for a planned fuel stop on Wednesday evening when it encountered deteriorating weather conditions.

After several unsuccessful approaches and with diminishing fuel, the pilot in command, Captain Dominic James, made the decision to carry out a controlled landing onto the water off the coast of Norfolk Island.

The aircraft, a specially equipped medical retrieval Westwind Jet carried out a successful landing on the water and the patient, accompayning spouse and two medical crew as well as the pilots evacuated safely. They were rescued by boat and brought to the local Norfolk Island hospital for observation. The Captain reported that all passengers and crew did not have any apparent injuries.

John Sharp, Chairman of Pel-Air Aviation said that he was very proud of the Captain and the First Officer. “They performed an intricate landing on water in darkness resulting in the evacuation of everyone safely and quickly. The training of both the Pel-Air and CareFlight crew came to the fore as everyone kept together and remained calm. Their professionalism stood out on the day and made a substantial difference to the outcome.”

“I also want to thank the rescue team and the local authorities for their prompt action and dedication which resulted in a speedy rescue and evacuation to the hospital.”

Arrangements are being made for the patient to be repatriated to Australia.

Take that Sully-

This guy is a hero, he had to make a hard choice. All hands lived.

he needs to be in a parade

News Story


VH-NGA Westwing 1124A c/n387 accident aircraft.
airliners.net photos VH-NGA

Pel-Air Aviation operate a large fleet including 9 Westwinds.

Aircraft reportedly made 4 landing attempts, finally ditching 2 nautical miles off of the Shore of Norfolk Island in 7 foot swells.

Ditching occurred around 21:30 and the aircraft sank in less than 3 minutes.
The crew and passengers only grabbed 3 life jackets and had to tread water until 23:00 when a boat recovered them.

All 6 were being treated for possible hypothermia and were described as quite shaken up.

Described as no visible injuries.

Sad ending to a Westwind, which the company purchased new in 1989, what a fortunate outcome for the persons involved!!!

maybe that’s why they have floats on the end of the wings

you htink the high wing made a belly landing easier/smoother? What a fantastic outcome

Those are fuel tanks, ain’t they… And isn’t that a “shoulder” mounted wing? Even though it is higher than a low wing. :laughing:

Definitely tanks on the end of the wings and I’d think in 7’ swells in the dark, having a high wing definitely doesn’t hurt.

Never the less…still a tuff feat under the circumstances and sea state. Hell of a job.

Australian Transport Safety Board released their preliminary report January 13/10.

Click Here info and link to preliminary report.

Click Here pdf preliminary report.