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B752, Girona Spain, 1999

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On 14th September 1999, a Britannia Airways Boeing 757 crash landed and departed the runway after a continued unstabilised approach in bad weather to Girona airport, Spain.
Event Details
When September 1999
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Human Factors, Runway Excursion, Weather
Day/Night Night
Flight Conditions On Ground - Normal Visibility
Flight Details
Aircraft BOEING 757-200
Operator Britannia Airways
Domicile United Kingdom
Type of Flight Public Transport (Passenger)
Origin Cardiff Airport
Intended Destination Girona-Costa Brava Airport
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed No
Flight Phase Landing
Location - Airport
Airport Girona-Costa Brava Airport
Tag(s) Approach not stabilised,
Non Precision Approach
Tag(s) Ineffective Monitoring,
Manual Handling,
Procedural non compliance,
Spatial Disorientation
Tag(s) Overrun on Landing,
Excessive Airspeed
Tag(s) Precipitation-limited IFV,
Strong Surface Winds,
Lightning Damage
Tag(s) Emergency Evacuation,
RFFS Procedures
Tag(s) Evacuation on Cabin Crew initiative
Safety Net Mitigations
Malfunction of Relevant Safety Net No
GPWS Available but ineffective
Damage or injury Yes
Aircraft damage Hull loss
Non-aircraft damage Yes
Injuries Many occupants
Fatalities Few occupants (1)
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s) Aircraft Operation,
Aircraft Airworthiness,
Air Traffic Management,
Airport Management
Investigation Type
Type Independent


On 14th September 1999, a Britannia Airways Boeing 757 crash landed and departed the runway after a continued unstabilised approach in bad weather to Girona airport, Spain.


This is the synopsis from the official report into the incident published by the Spanish authorities (Comisión de Investigación de Accidentes e Incidentes de Aviación Civil (CIAIAC)).

"The aircraft made an approach and landing at Girona Airport, Spain, at night through heavy thunderstorms with rain. At a late stage of the approach the airfield lighting failed for a few seconds. The aircraft touched down hard simultaneously on the nose and mainwheels and bounced. A second harder touchdown on the nosewheel displaced the nose landing gear and its support structure. Resultant aircraft systems damage caused the loss of virtually all electrical power, interference with controls and uncommanded forward thrust increase."

"The aircraft ran off the side of the runway at high speed around 1,000 metres after the second touchdown. After crossing a number of obstacles, it landed heavily in a field outside the airfield boundary and came to rest after having travelled 1,900 metres from the second touchdown. The fuselage had been fractured in two places and there was considerable disruption to the cabin. There was no fire. Evacuation of all the occupants, initiated by the cabin crew, was was completed rapidly. Emergency services had difficulty in locating the aircraft in the adverse conditions and arrived on the scene after evacuation had been completed."

Contributory factors identified in the report included:

  • "Impairment of the runway visual environment as a result of darkness and torrential rain and the extinguishing of runway lights immediately before landing."
  • "Suppression of some automatic height callouts by the GPWS “SINK RATE” audio caution."
  • "The effect of shock or mental incapacitation on the Pilot Flying at the failure of the runway lights which may have inhibited him from making a decision to go-around."
  • "The absence of specific flight crew training in flight simulators to initiate a go-around when below landing height.
  • "Insufficient evaluation of the weather conditions, particularly the movement and severity of the storm affecting the destination airport."

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