DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A plane involved in a fatal crash that killed four people working on improvements at Dubai International Airport had followed other larger aircraft landing there too closely as air traffic controllers offered inconsistent warnings about the hazard, a preliminary investigative report released Sunday found.
The May 16 crash of the Diamond DA62 saw the aircraft roll upside-down in air and smash into a park near the airport at high speed, killing the three Britons and one South African on board, according to the report by the United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority.
The twin propeller-engine light aircraft first lost control in the wake of a Thai Airways Airbus A350 landing at Dubai’s airport, the world’s busiest for international travel. The pilot corrected but lost control seven seconds later, the report found.
The plane crashed some 8 kilometers (5 miles) southeast of the airport in Mushrif Park, near the city-state’s water reservoirs, and was completely destroyed on impact. The plane carried no voice record, nor a flight data recorder, known colloquially as “black boxes,” as it was not required to do so because of its small size, the report said.
The plane, belonging to Flight Calibration Services Ltd. of Shoreham, England, was being used to calibrate the approach systems at the airport. The work involved resurfacing and replacing light and support infrastructure on the airport’s southern runway.
The plane crashed on its 10th approach to the airfield that day.
“Observations of previous approaches during the same calibration flight indicated that the DA62 consistently followed preceding traffic on approach to the parallel runway . at distances which were below the specified minimum separation,” the report said. “The radar monitor recording indicated that there was an air traffic control inconsistency in advising the DA62 of the expected occurrence of hazards caused by wake turbulence from traffic.”
Dubai International Airport declined to comment. Flight Calibration Services Ltd. did not respond to requests for comment.
Dubai is a major city in the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula. It is the home of the long-haul airline Emirates.
The city-state’s last major aircraft incident happened on Aug. 3, 2016. An Emirates Boeing 777-300 coming from Thiruvananthapuram, India, crash landed, but no lives were lost among its 300 passengers and crew. A firefighter was killed in a subsequent explosion of Flight EK521.