Accident description
Last updated: 31 October 2014
Status:Final
Date:Sunday 11 January 1959
Time:ca 11:20
Type:Silhouette image of generic CONI model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation
Operator:Lufthansa
Registration: D-ALAK
C/n / msn: 4602
First flight: 1955
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 10
Passengers:Fatalities: 29 / Occupants: 29
Total:Fatalities: 36 / Occupants: 39
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Rio de Janeiro-Galećo International Airport, RJ (GIG) (   Brazil) show on map
Crash site elevation: 9 m (30 feet) amsl
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Dakar-Yoff Airport (DKR/GOOY), Senegal
Destination airport:Rio de Janeiro-Galećo International Airport, RJ (GIG/SBGL), Brazil
Flightnumber: 502
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."

Classification:
Insufficient rest / fatigue
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Water

Sources:
» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 62-AN/57 (59)


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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 Dakar-Yoff Airport to Rio de Janeiro-Galećo International Airport, RJ as the crow flies is 5001 km (3126 miles).

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Lockheed L-1049

  • 30th loss
  • 564 built
  • 6th worst accident (at the time)
  • 10th worst accident (currently)
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 Brazil
  • 4th worst accident (at the time)
  • 18th worst accident (currently)
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