This weeks Flight International [FI] reports that on 17 Dec 2002 a Philippine Airlines [PAL] A330-300 came incredibly close to flying into Nimitz Hill; the very same site were sadly 229 people lost their lives as a Korean Airlines [KAL] 747-300 flew into rising terrain in 1997.
The A330 left Manilla for a scheduled flight to Guam, approaching the airport in the early hours of 17 Dec 02. On approach, its GPWS [Ground Proximity Warning System] was activated and the crew initiated an immediate go-around procedure, following by an uneventful landing later on.
Not until the next day, it was realised how close the aircraft actually came to disaster. Only after the return flight to Manila, ground crew discovered "dents and scratches" to the underside of the fuselage and cargo door!
"The NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board] confirms the aircraft was on an instrument approach, got very low on the approach and hit some electrical wires . . . on nearby Nimitz Hill as the go-around was being performed."
FI has a full editorial on how unbelievable/astonishing/appalling it is for modern day aviation, to have such a tragic event as the KAL 743 crash almost being repeated. Have there been any lessons learned, have they been forgotten, or did nobody bother taking account of the Guam-accident report. It seems that the only persons taking note of that report was the chief pilot at KAL, the aircraft manufacturer and most certainly the lawyers representing the bereaved families...
"There are so many similarities between the circumstances surrounding the Agana [Guam Airport] on 6 August 1997 [KAL] and on 17 December five years later on [PAL], that it begs the question as to why agencies like the NTSB bother to investigate and report in detail on accidents."
Immigration officer: "What's the purpose of your visit to the USA?" Spotter: "Shooting airliners with my Canon!"