Narrative:LAV Flight 253 departed New York-Idlewild Airport on a 9h48min flight to Caracas-Maiquetia. Cruising altitude was FL170. Last two messages from the aircraft were a position report at FL175, 75 miles NW of Maiquetia (at 07:51) and a report 35 miles NW of Maiquetia at 7000 feet. It appeared that the Super Constellation, named "Jose Marti", had struck the western peak of Silla de Caracas at 6702 feet altitude. Weather at Maiquetia at the time of the accident was: covered sky, ceiling 2500 feet, visibility north 4 miles, south 0 miles; wind calm.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The instrument flight training manuals show that the Linea Aeropostal Venezolana has approved a procedure for entering Maiquetia in semi-IFR conditions. This procedure consists in maintaining a minimum flight level of 10000ft as far as the station (Miq 292.5), then turning north over this pount and continuing on a 360deg heading for 4 minutes followed by a standard let-down to 1200ft above sea level until contact is established, and a return to the aerodrome under VFR. It is obvious that the pilot-in-command did not fully comply with this procedure, and, after accumulating errors in estimating his speed, endeavoured to make a direct approach which proved fatal because his altitude at the time of his last report was insufficient to cross the Avila mountain range against which the impact occurred."
» ICAO Accident Digest No.9, Circular 56-AN/51 (15)
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from New York-Idlewild International Airport, NY to Caracas Airport as the crow flies is 3382 km (2114 miles).