Accident description
Last updated: 21 August 2014
Status:Final
Date:Monday 24 January 1966
Time:07:02 UTC
Type:Boeing 707-437
Operator:Air-India
Registration: VT-DMN
C/n / msn: 18055/200
First flight: 1961
Total airframe hrs:16188
Engines: 4 Rolls-Royce Conway 508
Crew:Fatalities: 11 / Occupants: 11
Passengers:Fatalities: 106 / Occupants: 106
Total:Fatalities: 117 / Occupants: 117
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Mont Blanc (   France) show on map
Crash site elevation: 4750 m (15584 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Beirut International Airport (BEY/OLBA), Lebanon
Destination airport:Genève-Cointrin Airport (GVA/LSGG), Switzerland
Flightnumber: 101
Narrative:
The Boeing 707, named "Kanchenjunga", operated on a flight from Mumbai (Bombay) to London via Delhi, Beirut and Geneva. The flight to and takeoff from Beirut where routine, except for a failure of the no. 2 VOR. At 07:00 GMT the pilot reported reaching FL190 to Geneva ACC. He was told to maintain that flight level "unless able to descend VMC one thousand on top". The pilot confirmed this and added that they were passing abeam Mont Blanc. The controller noted that the flight wasn't abeam Mont Blanc yet and radioed "you have 5 miles to the Mont Blanc", to which the pilot answered with "Roger." Flight 101 then started to descend from FL190 until it struck the Mont Blanc at an elevation of 15585 feet (4750 m).

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The commission concluded that the most likely hypothesis was the following: a) The pilot-in-command, who knew on leaving Beirut that one of the VORs was unserviceable, miscalculated his position in relation to Mont Blanc and reported his own estimate of this position to the controller; the radar controller noted the error, determined the position of the aircraft correctly and passed a communication to the aircraft which, he believed, would enable it to correct its position.; b) For want of a sufficiently precise phraseology, the correction was mis-understood by the pilot who, under the mistaken impression that he had passed the ridge leading to the summit and was still at a flight level which afforded sufficient safety clearance over the top of Mont Blanc, continued his descent."

Classification:

Navigational error
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» ICAO Circular Accident Digest 18-I

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA) - France
report status: Final
report number:
report released:09-MAR-1967
duration of investigation:409 days (1 year 1.5 months)
download report: Rapport final sur l'accident survenu le 24 janvier 1966 dans le massif du Mont-Blanc au Boeing 707 immatriculé VT-DMN de la Compagnie Air India (BEA )
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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 Beirut International Airport to Genève-Cointrin Airport as the crow flies is 2815 km (1759 miles).

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Boeing 707

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