Narrative:Northeast Flight 285 departed Martha's Vineyard for a flight to New Bedford at 20:19. After 19 minutes the crew contacted New Bedford at the start of the descent out of 4000 feet. The controller then passed on weather information to the crew: indefinite 200, obscuration; visibility 1 mile; fog; wind southeast 3; altimeter 30.02. The flight was immediately cleared for a straight in approach and landing at runway 05. Last radio contact was when the crew reported inbound over the outer marker. The DC-3 struck 2 45-50 feet high trees, some 4000 feet short of the runway. The right wing separated on impact, causing the aircraft to roll to the right, cutting a swath through a dense growth of trees until the stub right wing dug into the soft swamp floor. The aircraft cartwheeled until the left engine struck a large tree stump, causing the fuselage to break in two. The wreckage came to rest 600 feet past the point of initial contact with the trees.
Probable Cause:PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot attempted to make a visual approach by descending prematurely in the approach area without adherence to the prescribed ILS approach procedure which was dictated by existing weather conditions."
» ICAO Accident Digest No.9, Circular 56-AN/51 (166-172)
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 Martha's Vineyard Airport, MA to New Bedford Airport, MA as the crow flies is 42 km (26 miles).
This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.