Accident description
Last updated: 18 September 2014
Status:Final
Date:Saturday 1 October 1966
Time:20:10
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC91 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-9-14
Operator:West Coast Airlines
Registration: N9101
C/n / msn: 45794/52
First flight: 1966
Total airframe hrs:164
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-1
Crew:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 13 / Occupants: 13
Total:Fatalities: 18 / Occupants: 18
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:9 km (5.6 mls) S of Wemme, OR (   United States of America) show on map
Crash site elevation: 1167 m (3829 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Eugene Airport, OR (EUG/KEUG), United States of America
Destination airport:Portland International Airport, OR (PDX/KPDX), United States of America
Flightnumber: 956
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 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."

Classification:

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: National Transport Safety Bureau (NTSB) - USA
report status: Final
report number: NTSB File 1-0015
report released:11-DEC-1967
duration of investigation:436 days (1 year 2.4 months)
download report: West Coast Airlines, Inc., DC-9, N9101, near Wemme, Oregon, October 1, 1966 (NTSB File 1-0015)

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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 Eugene Airport, OR to Portland International Airport, OR as the crow flies is 169 km (106 miles).

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