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Boeing 737-800 Plane crash, [507]

5 May 2007

Kenya Airways Flight 507, a Boeing 737-800 flight of Kenya Airways flying from Douala International Airport, Cameroon, to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, crashed on 5 May 2007. The flight originated from Port Bouet Airport in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, but made a stop in Douala to pick up more passengers. It departed Douala at 0105 GMT (0005 local time) on 5 May. It had been scheduled to arrive in Nairobi at 0315 GMT (0615 local time).

Of the 105 passengers onboard and 9-member crew it was reported that there were no survivors. 17 passengers had boarded in Abidjan while the rest boarded in Douala. On 8 May Kenya Airways reported that 29 bodies had been recovered from the crash site while reports from Cameroon reported that over 40 had been recovered. Workers reported that the bodies found were "badly disfigured" and that identification would be difficult process. Contact with the plane was lost soon after takeoff from Douala and it had not reported in upon reaching 5,000 feet as was normal procedure. The control tower may have received a distress signal from the aircraft before the loss of contact; later reports contradicted the statement. The plane broke up into small pieces and came to rest mostly submerged in a forested swamp, 5.42 km to the south (176°) of the end of the Douala International Airport's runway. Heavy rains in the area continued to hamper all efforts.

Early attention as to the cause of the crash had centered on the possibility of dual engine flameout during heavy weather. Several clues had pointed in this direction including the time the plane had been in the air, the distress call issued by the aircraft, the meteorological conditions at the time of the crash, and the nose-down position of the wreckage. Experts theorized that this would be consistent with the plane losing power in both engines, attempting to glide back to the airport, and stalling during the attempt. Other experts theorized that lightning had played a role in the crash.The National Transportation Safety Board of the United States sent a go-team to assist with the investigation.

On 8 May 2007 "Kenya Airways chief pilot James Ouma told a news conference in Nairobi that Kenyan investigators believe the jet crashed about 30 seconds after takeoff. Officials in Cameroon had said earlier that they lost contact with the jet 11-13 minutes into the flight."

The flight data recorder was recovered, The analysis took place in Canada and was completed on May 30, though the results of the analysis were not immediately disclosed because only Cameroon may release such data per the Convention on International Civil Aviation. The cockpit voice recorder took much longer to locate, as it was buried in 15 meters of mud, amidst the wreckage of the cockpit But it was eventually located on 16 June 2007 and prepared for transport to Canada for examination as the FDR had been.

On 29 June 2007 an article appeared in the Business Daily Africa that said the pilots had been exonerated from blame in the crash. The article also said examination of the DFDR had shown no mechanical failures on the plane, implied that weather was the sole reason for the crash, and that the CVR had not yet been recovered.

As of 22 April 2008, Kenya Airways said it has yet to be provided any report or cause of the crash by investigators.


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