Accident description
Last updated: 2 September 2014
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 16 July 1957
Time:03:36
Type:Silhouette image of generic CONI model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed L-1049C-55-81 Super Constellation
Operator:KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Registration: PH-LKT
C/n / msn: 4504
First flight: 1953
Total airframe hrs:11867
Crew:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Passengers:Fatalities: 49 / Occupants: 59
Total:Fatalities: 58 / Occupants: 68
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:1,2 km (0.8 mls) off Biak-Mokmer Airport (BIK) (   Indonesia) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Biak-Mokmer Airport (BIK/WABB), Indonesia
Destination airport:Manila International Airport (MNL/RPLL), Philippines
Flightnumber: 844
Narrative:
The Super Constellation, named "Neutron", departed from Biak runway 10 at 03:32 at night for the first leg of a flight back to Amsterdam. Shortly after take-off the pilot asked the tower controller to keep the runway lights on and requested permission for a low run over the airfield. Both requests were granted. The aircraft was in a 180deg turn when it lost altitude gradually until it struck the sea and broke apart. The wreckage sank in 250m of water.
In February 2000 a request was made to reopen the investigation because of accounts regarding the possibility that the crew had been drinking alcoholic beverages prior to the flight. Family of the captain in question also wanted the investigation to be reopened to clear his name.


PROBABLE CAUSE: "The explanation of the accident lies either in an error on the part of the pilot or in a technical failure. The Board was unable to state whether the accident could have been caused by a combination of both pilot error and technical failure. The Board was of the opinion that low runs should not be made by aircraft on scheduled services. The magnitude of the danger that is inherent in the proximity of the ground on takeoff and landing should not be increased unnecessarily by flying at low altitude."

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Water

Sources:
» ICAO Accident Digest No.9, Circular 56-AN/51 (141-145)
» Nederlandse Constallations / H.Dekker
» Vrij Nederland 13.02.1999 (p.18-19)


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Map
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 Biak-Mokmer Airport to Manila International Airport as the crow flies is 2398 km (1499 miles).

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Lockheed L-1049

  • 16th loss
  • 564 built
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 6th worst accident (currently)
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 Indonesia
  • worst accident (at the time)
  • 11th worst accident (currently)
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