CASA 295M transport aircraft crashed on the 23rd of January 2008 in Mirosławiec, just 300 meters away from the landing site, killing 16 passengers and 4 crewmen. Both the crew and passengers were highly qualified officers of the Polish air forces.
The accident happened at 19:07 local time, when the cloud base at Miroslawiec was 295ft (90m), visibility was 3km and there was a haze over the airfield. According to air traffic control reported, the aircraft's pilot performed a go-around because of lack of visibility of the airstrip, but during the second approach, reported: "I see the airstrip."
The Polish Air Force confirmed that the base's instrumented landing system was faulty at the time of the crash, restricting the pilot to using only the precision approach radar, but it adds: "The malfunction of the ILS was not a reason for the crash."
Aircraft 019 was one of the newest transports delivered to the Polish Air Force, and had logged more than 300 flight hours since entering service last August. It was one of 10 C-295s to have entered Polish service since 2003, and its loss is the first involving the Spanish-designed type.
The crash of the CASA C-295 is being blamed on pilot error. According to the official report, visibility was low and the pilot likely tried to land by sight. In the first landing attempt, the ILS landing system, which directs pilots to the landing strip, malfunctioned. During the second landing attempt, the pilot tried to land by sight and did not realize he was flying too low. The plane clipped trees and fell apart.
The pilot did not rely on the traffic control for landing information, but the ground crew is also being blamed for not following procedure and allowing the pilot to land without assistance.
Ceremonies commemorating the victims was took place for today at the site of the tragedy. Names of the deceased was reading out, followed by prayers, fire salute and the laying of flowers at the monument. At noon, families of victims were gathering at an ecumenical service in Mirosławiec, where Catholic, Evangelical and Orthodox clergy were praying for the souls of the victims.
(24. 1. 2009, 20:16 CET)
[*] for Polish soldiers.