Air Moorea, a subsidiary of Air Tahiti has suffered its first crash in 35 years of operation last Thursday (9AUG2007), with killing all on board a DHC-6 (de Havilland Canada) Twin Otter 300 aircraft (registration F-OIQI). The plane’s airworthiness certificate was delivered on 9 November 2006 and it was operated by Air Moorea since 17 November 2006. The aircraft had a total of 30.833 flight hours since the beginning of its service and has passed the last technical control on 19 July, 2007. It has done 3 rotations between Tahiti and Moorea in the morning hours of last Thursday before it crashed. According to Air Moorea / Air Tahiti: Flight 1121 was under the authority of Captain Michel Santurenne, who was born on 6 September, 1954 and had completed a total of 3500 flight hours.
According to the news, 19 passengers (all but 5 French) and one pilot was on the plane, when it took off for an approximately 10 minute (17 km) flight from Temae airport in Moorea Island (MOZ), en route to the local capital Papeete (PPT), Tahiti, French Polynesia. Shortly after take-off while initial climbing and reaching about 500 feet in the air, it is said to have been veering to the right descending quickly and crashed into the ocean about 1,5 km off the airport. “The plane seemed to have difficulty gaining altitude,” an airport employee who saw the crash said, adding “Then it plunged and you could hear the noise of the explosion.” Aviation authorities said weather conditions at the time were clear. Local fishermen were on site of the crash as soon as about 30 seconds later, finding only debris and bodies on the surface of the ocean.
Some video footage by CNN from the scene while the rescue operations: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/08/10/polynesia.crash.reut/index.html#cnnSTCVideo