Narrative:West Coast Flight 956 departed San Francisco (SFO) at 18:44 for a flight to Eugene (EUG), Portland (PDX) and Seattle (SEA). The brand new DC-9 aircraft, which had been delivered to West Coast Airlines just 2 weeks earlier, arrived at Eugene at 19:34 and took off again 18 minutes later. At 20:04 the crew were cleared to descend from the cruising altitude of FL140 to 9000 feet. While turning to heading 300deg, the aircraft descended below the clearance altitude and impacted the wooded eastern slope of Salmon Mountain at the 3830 feet level. The aircraft attitude was 30 degrees right bank, in a 3-4 degree climbing flight path on a heading of 265 degrees.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The descent of the aircraft below its clearance limit and below that of surrounding obstructing terrain, but the Board had been unable to determine the cause of such descent."
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain
Official accident investigation report
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 Eugene Airport, OR to Portland International Airport, OR as the crow flies is 169 km (106 miles).