Accident description
Last updated: 24 July 2014
Status:Final
Date:Tuesday 17 February 1959
Time:16:47 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic VISC model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Vickers 794D Viscount
Operator:Türk Hava Yollari - THY
Registration: TC-SEV
C/n / msn: 429
First flight: 1958
Total airframe hrs:548
Engines: 4 Rolls-Royce Dart 510
Crew:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 8
Passengers:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 16
Total:Fatalities: 14 / Occupants: 24
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:5,2 km (3.3 mls) W of London-Gatwick Airport (LGW) (   United Kingdom) show on map
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Roma-Fiumicino Airport (FCO/LIRF), Italy
Destination airport:London-Heathrow Airport (LHR/EGLL), United Kingdom
Narrative:
The aircraft was on a special flight from Ankara to London via Rome with Adnan Menderes the Prime Minister of Turkey and a party of Turkish Government officials on board. The aircraft left Rome at 13:02. TC-SEV called London Airways at 15:56 after passing Abbeville and was cleared by ATC to the Epsom Radio Range station, the holding point for London Airport. Because of poor visibility at destination London (Heathrow) Airport, the London Airport Commandant decided to inform the Turkish Captain that he should divert to Gatwick. At 16:21 hrs the aircraft reported over the Epsom range and was given diversion instructions. At 16:27 it left Epsom for Mayfield, the holding point for Gatwick, where it was informed by Gatwick Approach Control that it would be positioned by radar for an ILS approach to runway 09. The latest weather report for Gatwick was given as wind calm, visibility 1.1 nm, mist, cloud 3 oktas at 600 feet, QFE 1036 mb. Over the Mayfield NDB at 4,000 feet the flight was instructed to steer a course of 280 and to descend to 2,000 feet. This was acknowledged. A further descent clearance was given to 1500 feet. The aircraft overshot the centre line slightly as it turned on to the ILS approach path. At 5nm from touchdown, the aircraft affirmed that it could continue on the ILS. TC-SEV was then asked to change to tower frequency and this request was acknowledged. This was the last communication with the aircraft. At a position of some 5 km from the runway threshold and 550 feet to the north of the approach path centre line, the aircraft contacted tops of trees 390 feet amsl at the edge of Jordan's Wood. The aircraft began to disintegrate as it descended through the trees at an angle of about 6 degrees from the horizontal until the wheels made contact with the ground. After rising again slightly the main part of the wreckage came to rest about 100 yards further on and then caught fire.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The evidence is insufficient to establish the cause of the accident. There is no indication however that this can be associated either with a technical failure of the aircraft or with a failure of the ground services."

Classification:
Low visibility
Cause undetermined
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground

Sources:
» Accident Report No.C/694


Photos

photo of Vickers 794D Viscount TC-SEV
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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 Roma-Fiumicino Airport to London-Heathrow Airport as the crow flies is 1435 km (897 miles).

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Vickers Viscount

  • 20th loss
  • 445 built
  • 6th worst accident (at the time)
  • 44th worst accident (currently)
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 United Kingdom
  • 26th worst accident (at the time)
  • 38th worst accident (currently)
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