Narrative:The Super Constellation operated on flight LH502 from Hamburg, Germany to Buenos Aires, Argentina with en route stops at Frankfurt, Paris, Lisbon, Dakar, Senegal and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The crew were cleared to descend from 4200m to 3000m when 20min out from Rio de Janeiro. They were to maintain 3000m to the KX NDB in preparation for an approach and landing at runway 14. Over KX they were cleared to descend to 900m. Galeao Approach was contacted and normal position reports were made. The plane descended over Guanabara Bay under rainy conditions and struck the water with the nosewheel. The crew then presumably tried to continue the approach, but the Constellation crashed near Flecheiras Beach, short of the Galeao runway. Crew duty and flight time exceeded the Brazilian limits, but did not exceed the German limitations.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "In spite of an exhaustive investigation it was not possible to determine the actual cause. However, the probable cause was considered to be pilot error in descending below the minimum altitude on final approach. Aircrew fatigue was considered to be a contributing factor."
» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 62-AN/57 (59)
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 Dakar-Yoff Airport to Rio de Janeiro-Galećo International Airport, RJ as the crow flies is 5001 km (3126 miles).