Jump to content


VOLO_VRGeneral468Helicopter AcademyFrasca VRForum468TigerTugsVRForumGen468
Photo
* * * * * 1 votes

1989 Almeria helicopter crash (open questions)

helicopter crash accident disaster almeria spain 1989 missing where search

  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 almeria.raul

almeria.raul

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 05 September 2015 - 20:49

Dear colleagues, 

   I write this post to ask you your opinion about a couple of questions related with an helicopter crash happened in 1989, in the sea, a few miles of the coastline of Roquetas de Mar town, province of Almeria (Spain). I am analyzing this misterious crash in my spare time. Many thanks in advance for your opinions. 

 

**************

HISTORY:

**************

On December 15th, 1989, 7:00pm, a helicopter of the Spanish Customs Surveillance, model Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm BO-105 CB, with two helicopter pilots, departed from the airport of Almeria (Spain) with destination to the area of Melilla (Spain).

 

On December 16th, 00:40am, the members of the control  tower of the airport inform the helicopter is missing (the autonomy of this helicopter was 4 hours)

 

On December 16th, 07:00am (about 12 hours after the crash) a fishing boat finds two miles far from the coastline of Cerrillos Beach (Roquetas de Mar, Almería, Spain) the body of one of the helicopter pilots floating with the cross arms. The distance from the airport is about 10 miles, which is why it is supposed the accident happened about 20 minutes after the departure.

 

From the analysis of the body (autopsy) the investigators concluded that the helicopter did not explode in the air. Two main hypothesis were managed. The first one was that a distraction of the pilot could have caused the crash, while the second one was a possible mechanical failure, perhaps a failure in the altimeter system. These service

 

During two weeks several ships search this area looking for the 

fuselage and the body of the other pilot, but they were not found. Today, it is still a mystery was happened, and where is the fuselage.

 

 

 

 

**************

QUESTIONS:

**************

I am analyzing the possibility that the fuselage of the helicopter could still be located in the bottom of the sea. Taking into account that this coast is micro-tidal (it is not influenced by tides, but only by waves in the surface) I would be expeted the helicopter fuselage is still in the same place it crashed in 1989. Nevertheless, this

helicopter model had inflatable floats, which is why I need to answer to several questions before to conclude the fuselage is still in this area. If possible, give me your opinion using percentages of probability to each question (of course, your comments are also welcome).

 

 

Q1) Taking into account that one of the cadaver of one of the pilots was found few hours after the accident, do you think he jumped before the crash (the other alternative would be he had been able to get out the helicopter after the crash)?

[Probability 0%-100%]

 

 

Q2) If the crash happened suddently, do you think the pilots could have activated the inflatable floats before sinking?.  

[Probability 0%-100%]

 

 

Q3) If the crash happened because a mechanical failure, and the pilots had a few seconds before, do you think they had time to activate the inflatable floats before the crash/sinking instead (in addition to make efforts to recover the helicopter or jump from it)? [Probability 0%-100%] 

 

 

Q4) Having in mind that the pilots of the Spanish Customs Surveillance fly at low altitude, and that floats require some seconds to be inflated, and supposing they activated the inflation process a few seconds before the crash, do you think the inflatable floats were totally inflated after the crash (i.e. a crash do not affect to the inflation process)? 

[Probability 0%-100%]

 

 

Q5) In case the floats were totally or partially inflated, do you think the descending vertical force exerted by the crashed helicopter full of water would be greater than the ascending vertical force exerted by the floats (i.e. the helicopter would directly go to the bottom of sea)? 

[Probability 0%-100%]

 

 

Q6) In case the inflation mechanism of floats were not activated, do you think it is possible that the helicopter could remain like an air camera between the top and the bottom of the sea during a certain time (hours/days)?

[Probability 0%-100%]

 

 

Q7) In case the inflation mechanism of floats were activated, and the floats were totally or partially inflated, do you think it is possible that the helicopter could remain like an air camera between the top and the bottom of the sea during a certain time (hours/days)?

[Probability 0%-100%]

 

 


  • TomPPL likes this

#2 almeria.raul

almeria.raul

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 15 September 2015 - 15:58

Any answer to the questions? thanks in advance



#3 Pohi

Pohi

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 962 posts

Posted 15 September 2015 - 17:12

I'll bite...
 
 
Q1) Taking into account that one of the cadaver of one of the pilots was found few hours after the accident, do you think he jumped before the crash (the other alternative would be he had been able to get out the helicopter after the crash)?
[Probability 0%-100%]

2% chance of the pilot jumping out. That's pure insanity.
 
 
Q2) If the crash happened suddently, do you think the pilots could have activated the inflatable floats before sinking?.  
[Probability 0%-100%]

50% Depends on the reason for the crash. If it was mechanical, then very good chance. If they were going full speed and smacked the water (cfit) then little to no chance.
 
Q3) If the crash happened because a mechanical failure, and the pilots had a few seconds before, do you think they had time to activate the inflatable floats before the crash/sinking instead (in addition to make efforts to recover the helicopter or jump from it)? [Probability 0%-100%] 
 
90% (of trying to inflate the floats, less odds of the floats actually inflating) if they had to ditch in the water, they most likely tried to pop the floats (if they had time)
 
Q4) Having in mind that the pilots of the Spanish Customs Surveillance fly at low altitude, and that floats require some seconds to be inflated, and supposing they activated the inflation process a few seconds before the crash, do you think the inflatable floats were totally inflated after the crash (i.e. a crash do not affect to the inflation process)? 
[Probability 0%-100%]
 
70% depending on the type of floats and the maintenance, that might be a generous number.

Q5) In case the floats were totally or partially inflated, do you think the descending vertical force exerted by the crashed helicopter full of water would be greater than the ascending vertical force exerted by the floats (i.e. the helicopter would directly go to the bottom of sea)? 
[Probability 0%-100%]
 
5% If you are asking if the helicopter would lawn dart straight to the bottom intact, as a whole, I doubt it. It would break into a million pieces due to the surface friction of the water. It would be like hitting concrete.

Q6) In case the inflation mechanism of floats were not activated, do you think it is possible that the helicopter could remain like an air camera between the top and the bottom of the sea during a certain time (hours/days)?
[Probability 0%-100%]

?? I couldn't even guess. In theory, it could be floating under the surface, but not totally at the bottom. Maybe. Not many places for trapped air, especially enough for it not to go all the way down. 
 
Q7) In case the inflation mechanism of floats were activated, and the floats were totally or partially inflated, do you think it is possible that the helicopter could remain like an air camera between the top and the bottom of the sea during a certain time (hours/days)?
[Probability 0%-100%]

?? See Q6, but add maybe 5%
  • TomPPL likes this

#4 Gomer Pylot

Gomer Pylot

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,190 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas

Posted 16 September 2015 - 08:53

Everything here is pure speculation, other than the fact that one body was found.  Any of the hypotheses is possible, and there is no way to know anything without more information.  Unless more evidence is found, it's not possible to know anything more.  Find the wreckage, and you may be able to learn more, otherwise it's all just guesswork.


Best Regards,

Gomer

#5 almeria.raul

almeria.raul

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 16 September 2015 - 18:21

Dear Poy and Gomer Pilot, 

  many thanks for your answers.

 

 

At this point, I have calculated the approximated location of the crash according to the approximated position in which one of the pilots was found, and the wind speed and significant wave height.

 

I have asked these questions in order to determine whether or not the helicopter could still stay at the bottom of the sea in the same area of the crash or if, alternatively, the helicopter could have moved far from that area. Since during that time interval there were light winds and small waves in the sea, I guess the helicopter could be located close to this are, but I have doubts. 

 

Additional or complementary comments are welcome.

 

Best regards, 

  Raul


  • TomPPL likes this

#6 Gomer Pylot

Gomer Pylot

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,190 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas

Posted 16 September 2015 - 19:45

Where the helicopter is, is pure speculation.  It's possible it sank nearby and is still there, but just as possible that it's miles or more away.  It depends a lot on the circumstances of the crash, whether the aircraft more or less stayed complete, or broke into many pieces.  if the former, it could have floated mostly submerged for some time and distance.  If it was badly broken up, it may have sunk, but the pieces would be relatively small, and probably difficult to recognize now.  My estimation is that the chances of finding the wreckage are small.  A thorough search would be very expensive, and probably yield no result.  But anything is possible.  

 

I'm far from certain that the winds and waves have been light all the time over the past 25+ years.  


Edited by Gomer Pylot, 16 September 2015 - 19:48.

  • TomPPL likes this
Best Regards,

Gomer

#7 almeria.raul

almeria.raul

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 17 September 2015 - 03:54

Dear Gomer, 

  you are right, a through search is difficult and expensive. According to the bathymetric map of the area (http://www-odp.tamu....ages/73_f01.jpg), I have calculated that if the helicopter  sank nearby and is still there, it is about 50 meters deep, which is why it is necessary to use a proton magnetometer and/orsubmarine cameras to record images. In any case, it is sure that once helicopter (wreckage) arrived to the bottom of the sea it has not moved since this part of the Mediterranean coast is micro-tidal. 

 

Thanks for your answer. 

 

Additional opinions are welcome. 

 

Raul


  • TomPPL likes this

#8 Whistlerpilot

Whistlerpilot

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 294 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:BC
  • Interests:Skiing climbing mountain biking kayaking flying and having a long term relationship!
  • Company working for:A 5 ship company in a small BC mountain town

Posted 20 September 2015 - 18:02

Hi Raul,

I noticed that the helicopter departed Almeria at 7pm and I looked up daylight hours for Dec 15 at 7pm. It was night time. I have some experience flying over water in the dark and can tell you that it would be very easy to have a loss of visual reference. You can research the existing weather conditions, moon phase, etc for Dec 15 1989 in Almeria, but trust me even with a clear night, and moon and star light available flying over water at night is tricky and risky.

By far the most likely scenario is that they flew into the water by mistake. Statistically over 80% of helicopter accidents are human factor related. So with that in mind it is most likely the pilots had a loss of situational awareness and descended to low. It's very possible they had limited visual reference and were either attempting to fly solely with reference to the instruments, or trying to fly low to maintain visual reference. Even if the aircraft were found there would be limited clues as to the situation that led them to hit the water without a flight data recorder. So to sum up, over 80% probable that they simply flew into the water by mistake (for whatever accident chain of reasons got them there). The decision to fly at night over the water was the first link in that accident chain IMHO.

As for the likelihood of a pilot jumping out of the helicopter during an emergency; in my opinion less than 0.1%

Another clue is that the helicopter was never found. If they had experienced a mechanical emergency it is very likely the pop out floats would have been deployed well before impact and kept the helicopter floating even upside down.

Coincidentally a BO105 flying over water in the Canadian Arctic from a Coast Guard icebreaker flew into the water a few years ago. The pop outs were not deployed and there were no survivors. They encountered reduced visibility conditions and simply flew into the water. Google TSB aviation investigation A13H0002 if you want more info on that accident which has some similarities to the Almeria accident.

I'm not sure for your reasons to revisit such an old accident. It may always be a mystery why the crash occured and I can imagine how difficult it was for family and loved ones to have closure.
  • TomPPL and Joe_P148 like this

When life's path is steep keep your mind even.


#9 Whistlerpilot

Whistlerpilot

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 294 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:BC
  • Interests:Skiing climbing mountain biking kayaking flying and having a long term relationship!
  • Company working for:A 5 ship company in a small BC mountain town

Posted 20 September 2015 - 18:08

Q1: 0.1%

Q2: <25%

Q3: >75%

Q4: >75%

Q5: 10%

Q6: 0%

Q7: 10%

Edited by Whistlerpilot, 20 September 2015 - 18:25.

  • TomPPL likes this

When life's path is steep keep your mind even.


#10 almeria.raul

almeria.raul

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 23 September 2015 - 10:37

Dear Whistlerpilot, 
   many thanks for your interesting answer. You are right, on December 15th, the sunset is at 5:55 pm, which is why at 7:00 p.m. is night. There were full moon but, according to the information provided by Spanish Ports, it was cloudy, and the wind was light. An interesting comment you do is when you say "Another clue is that the helicopter was never found. If they had experienced a mechanical emergency it is very likely the pop out floats would have been deployed well before impact and kept the helicopter floating even upside down". This is very important. Two pilots were in the helicopter and according to http://svahistoria.b...-argos-iii.html(post written by a people who participated in the rescure mission), one of them (the pilot, about 60 years old) had been a flight instructor before joining the company Helicsa, and had in his curriculum an impressive piece of professional services with several thousand flying hours and a wealth of experience developed in Europe and the United States, while the other (copilot, which body was found 12 hours after the crash) was 30 years old.  According to your expert answer I confirm my suppositions on that if the pilots had popped up floats probably the helicopter or, at least the floats, had appeared, because the weather and sea conditions where very good during the 36 hours after the crash. 
 
Despite of it has been difficult to obtain information about that accident, I have collected some interesting data. After the crash, during several days a Spanish army ship was searching in the area, but the sea conditions were, in general, very bad during two weeks after the crash, which is why I have confirmed the helicopter search was not as exhaustive as it should have been. In particular, by considering the approximated location in which the body of one pilots was found 12 hours after the crash, and weather conditions (wind speed, wind direction, wave intensity, etc.) I have calculated the area in which the crash happened, and therefore, where it should be located if the helicopter had fallen (directly or few hours later) to the bottom. According to the dimensions of the helicopter (http://www.flugzeugi...ta_bo105_en.php) I think it is still nowadays possible to find the fuselage. The main problem is that the bathymetric map of this area, indicates that the sea depth in this area is between 50 and 75 meters, which involves that it is necessary to use both, a proton magnetometer to detect metals, ad submarine cameras to record images and confirm this is an helicopter. Obviously it is very expensive, but at least I would like to process the information because maybe in the future someone could carry out the search. 
 
The reason why I am analyzing this accident is simply because my family has an apartment very close to the supposed zone in which the crash happened, and I often go on holidays there. I often wonder what could happened and how it is possible nobody has found the wreckage. Nowadays, I am almost sure that it could be found with the current technology, but it is expensive. 
 
Thanks also for your reference to the Aviation Investigation A13H0002. I am going to read it. 
 
Many thanks and, of course, additional opinions are welcome. 
 
  Raúl.

  • TomPPL likes this

#11 TomPPL

TomPPL

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 292 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:United Kingdom
  • Company working for:My Own

Posted 23 September 2015 - 10:46

You have a holiday home nearby, what about taking up diving? Your max depth would be about 30-40 metres so I'm guessing you'd still be able to actually see if there was a wreck there?

 

You could combine your hobby with your specific task of locating the wreckage.



#12 almeria.raul

almeria.raul

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 6 posts

Posted 23 September 2015 - 19:31

Dear TomPPL,

  thanks for your suggestion, but this option is discarded by two main reasons:

 

1) The crash happened about 2 miles far of the coastline, and to find the helicopter would be necessary to search in a relatively large area (minimum: 1 mile x 2 miles according to my calculations).

 

2) The bathymetric maps indicate that the sea depth in this area is between 50 and 75 meters. Having in mind that the deepest recorded secchi depths (Secchi disk is an easy method to determine the depth at which turbidity of water makes the disk invisible from the surface) in the Mediterranean sea was 53 meters, I think that according to the characteristics of this area, the maximum visibility in the best days can be as much as 35 meters deep, which implyies that diving from the surface does not allow visualizing the seabed. 

 

Therefore, the unique feasible ways to perform the search is to use a proton magnetometer and/orsubmarine cameras to record images. 

 

 

On the other hand, I have read the information provide by Whistlerpilot about the Google TSB aviation investigation A13H0002, and I am very surprised about the "minor" damage suffered by that helicopter after the crash. According to http://www.tsb.gc.ca...02/a13h0002.asp Since I am not an expert in this issue I figured that the helicopter would be much more damaged and, probably, it had broken into several parts. I have read about other cases ( http://www.aircrashs...ig-meagaidh.htm ) and the damage is similar. In that case, it would be confirmed that the helicopter I am analyzing would be clearly visible using submarine cameras. The main problem is to perform the search. 

 

Thanks for your comments, and please, additional comments are welcome. 

 

Raul.


  • TomPPL likes this

#13 TomPPL

TomPPL

    VR Veteran Poster

  • VR Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 292 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:United Kingdom
  • Company working for:My Own

Posted 24 September 2015 - 04:59

I knew it would be a long shot but thought I'd chip in! Thanks for the explanation - good luck in your quest.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: helicopter, crash, accident, disaster, almeria, spain, 1989, missing, where search

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users



FreeFlight_General200HeliHelmetsSpectrum_VRGeneral468MaunaLoaSoftwareVRGeneral200PrecisionVRForumGeneral200BLR Gen 200Genesys VRForum200_GeneralLakeSuperiorGeneral200Guidance General 200