Widerøe Flight 710 - Aftermath


Flight 710 was the second fatal and write-off accident of a Dash 7, and remains the deadliest. It was at the time the third-deadliest aviation accident in Norwegian history, after the Holtaheia Accident in 1961 and Braathens SAFE Flight 239 in 1972. It has since been relegated to the fourth-deadliest by Vnukovo Airlines Flight 2801. It remains the deadliest accident in Northern Norway.

The commission recommended that Widerøe update its maps for Brønnøysund, review and improve its landing procedures, improve its internal control procedures to ensure that pilots follow the airline's flight operation regulations, and introduce the Sterile Cockpit Rule. The commission recommended that the Civil Aviation Administration change the flight paths at Brønnøysund to increase the altitude around Torghatten. Flight 710 was the second of four fatal Widerøe accidents which occurred between 1982 and 1993. In the first accident, Flight 933, a poor cockpit culture had also been discovered, but little was followed up, in part because of a conspiracy theory which surfaced regarding a collision with a fighter jet. Also in the following two major Widerøe accidents, Flight 893 in 1990 and Flight 744 in 1993, the investigation uncovered operational shortcomings.

The press had an aggressive coverage of the accident. Several major press organizations attended the memorial service, and newspapers published close-up pictures of crying next of kin on their front pages. The Norwegian Press Complaints Commission, a committee appointed by the newspapers themselves, acquitted Dagbladet after a complaint for their aggressive image use. However, the accident coverage started an internal debate among journalists about their coverage of major accidents. The conclusion was that private sorrow was not to be covered in the media and since the media has had a strict self-enforcement of such a policy.

Brønnøysund Airport installed the SCAT-I satellite-based landing system on 29 October 2007. Avinor's Steinar Hamar stated at the opening ceremony that the system would have prevented both Flight 710 and Flight 744 at Namsos Airport in 1993. The rolled-out, taking place at most of Avinor's regional airports, is scheduled for completion in 2013.

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