- ACCIDENT DETAILS
Date: November 24, 2001
Time: 22:07
Location: Birchwil, Switzerland
Operator: Crossair
Flight #: 3597
Route: Berlin - Zurich
AC Type: BAE Avro RJ100
Registration: HB-IXM
cn / ln: E-3291
Aboard: 33   (passengers:28  crew:5)
Fatalities: 24   (passengers:21  crew:3)
Ground: 0
Summary: The aircraft was flying through a mix of rain and snow on final approach, when it crashed in a wooded area, 5.5 miles from Zurich Airport where it was scheduled to land on Runway 28. At 22.03 the aircraft was descending to 4000 ft. on final approach. At 22.05 the captain reported reaching the minimum descent altitude and stated he could see the ground. Shortly after, the radio altimeter reported 500 ft. agl, followed by a "minimum" warning. A go-around was ordered, but it was too late and the aircraft struck trees and crashed. American pop singer, Melanie Thornton, 34, killed. Maria Serano Serano and Nathaly van het Ende both 27, and members of the pop-music trio, Passion Fruit, also killed. The pilot had been working more than 13 hours when the accident took place and had also exceeded maximum duty several times in the days preceding the crash. A controlled flight into terrain caused by the captain deliberately descending below the minimum descent altitude without having the required visual contact with either the approach lights or the runway and the copilot making no attempt to prevent the continuation of the flight below the minimum descent altitude. The report revealed that the pilot had failed to perform correct navigation and landing procedures before, but no action had been taken by the airline. The range of hills the plane crashed into was not marked in the Jeppesen approach chart used by the crew, despite the hilly terrain the approach to runway 28 was not equipped with a minimum safe altitude warning (MSAW) system, which triggers an alarm if a minimum safe altitude is violated, and the airport's means of determining visibility were inadequate for runway 28 and the visual minimums at the time of the accident were actually inappropriate for using the standard approach to runway 28.
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