ASN Aircraft accident Curtiss C-46A-40-CU Commando N68823 Belen
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Date:Wednesday 18 February 1959
Type:Silhouette image of generic C46 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Curtiss C-46A-40-CU Commando
Operator:Southern Cross Airways
Registration: N68823
MSN: 26818
First flight: 1944
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-2800-51
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Belen (   Chile)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Departure airport:Arica-Chacalluta Airport (ARI/SCAR), Chile
Destination airport:Puerto Suarez Airport (PSZ/SLPS), Bolivia
Nearly one hour following takeoff from Arica (ARI) a no. 2 engine power loss occurred. The aircraft was flying over the Andes at that moment, on its way to Puerto Suarez (PSZ). The C-46 was overloaded by 1000 lb (455 kg) and could not maintain altitude. The crew were forced to carry out a forced landing on a comparatively open, uphill area when the plane slid through several 3-4 feet high rock retaining walls. The initial cause of the engine malfunction could not be established, however as a result of it the exhaust valve of the no.10 cylinder had failed from its piston beating against the spark plugs and cylinder head. This probably ruptured the intake port, and reduced manifold pressure to atmospheric pressure (22" in flight).

Forced landing outside airport

» La Nacion 20 February 1959, p19


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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 Arica-Chacalluta Airport to Puerto Suarez Airport as the crow flies is 1315 km (822 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.
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