Cable fracture caused Air Moorea Twin Otter crash: BEA

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French air accident investigators have established that a fractured elevator cable was the direct cause of last August’s fatal Air Moorea de Havilland Canada Twin Otter crash in French Polynesia, confirming earlier indications.

On 9 August 2007 the Air Moorea aircraft suffered a sudden and rapid loss of control, causing it to crash into the sea just 11s later claiming the lives of all on board - the pilot and 19 passengers.

Last December investigators from France’s Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA) said they were focussing their attention on a fractured elevator cable which was discovered in the wreckage of the Twin Otter.

In its preliminary findings BEA said that recovery personnel had retrieved the entire pitch-down cable from the sunken wreckage. But an 8.8m (29ft) section of the pitch-up cable, between its forward and rear fracture points, was missing.

At the time BEA had only concluded the initial stage of its probe and it had not formally linked the damage to the accident.

In today’s update, the BEA says: “A preliminary report, published on 6 December 2007, established that the elevator control cables showed significant worn areas.

“Ongoing studies have confirmed that the failure of the elevator pitch-up cable, at the moment when the flaps were retracted, was the direct cause of the accident. Tests and research have made it possible to reconstruct the complex process which led to the failure of the cable.”

It adds that the full report will be published before year-end.