Accident description
Last updated: 22 July 2014
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 24 December 1946
Time:19:19
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-53D-DO (DC-3)
Operator:Western Air Lines
Registration: NC45395
C/n / msn: 11642
First flight: 1943
Total airframe hrs:3699
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3-G
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Total:Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:80 km (50 mls) E of San Diego, CA (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Holtville Airport, CA, United States of America
Destination airport:San Diego International Airport, CA (SAN/KSAN), United States of America
Flightnumber: 44
Narrative:
The flight departed Holtville at 18:50 and was cleared to San Diego on a contact flight plan to cruise at 7,000 feet. En route at 19:09, the flight made a position report to the company radio at Los Angeles advising that it was over Mt. Laguna at 7,000 feet. Ten minutes later the crew had initiated a descent. At an altitude of 6120 feet the DC-3 flew into the east slope of Cuyapaipe Mountain, 75 feet below the crest. The wreckage was found three days later.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the conduct of the flight at an altitude which would not clear obstructions, due to an error by the pilot in determining his position with respect to Laguna Mountain."

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» Air Britain Casualty compendium (pt. 45)
» CAB File No. 5565-46


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