Narrative:The aircraft was carrying out a non-scheduled international cargo flight from Rancho Boyeros Airport, Havana, Cuba, to Mexico City International Airport, Mexico. It departed Rancho Boyeros Airport at approximately 01:00 hours Mexico time and its estimated time of arrival at Mexico was 04:50 hours. At 04:00 hours, when reaching the BX intersection, the aircraft contacted the Mexico Control Centre and requested authorization to enter the control area. This was granted and the latest weather information for Mexico Airport was transmitted to the aircraft but no acknowledgement was received. Subsequent transmissions from the aircraft were unintelligible and it was instructed to change to another frequency. The clearance and weather information were again passed to the aircraft on that frequency. The aircraft reported over Nautla and Tulanciago and was informed that visibility at Mexico City was 1,5 miles because of fog. It was then instructed to descend from 18000 to 12000 feet and to contact the approach controller.
It was also advised that the runway would be 23L and that the wind was calm. At 04:58 hours the aircraft reported over Tepexpan and was instructed to descend to 11000 ft and report over the VOR where it could initiate a standard descent. At 04:58 hours the aircraft reported over the VOR leaving 11000 ft and was instructed to contact the Tower controller.
This was the last contact with the aircraft. It did not establish contact on the tower frequency.
The aircraft continued descent and struck some ploughed land about 18 km from the end of runway 23L, some 400 m to the right of the runway centre line. The aircraft struck the ground nose first, in an almost 24° nose down attitude, and with a bank to the left of approximately 25° . Following initial impact the aircraft rolled violently to the right and started to break up. After striking the ground twice the tail unit fractured and broke away from the fuselage. The rest of the fuselage together with the right wing, part of the left wing, the four engines and the no . 2 propeller continued moving forward and struck the bank of a river running north-south. Number 1, 3 and 4 engines then broke off and came to rest at the bottom of the ditch, the fuselage somersaulted violently across to the further side of the ditch, the right wing was torn off from the fuselage mid-section and projected, almost intact, some 100 m to the left, the cockpit broke up completely and finally engine no.2 broke away and came to rest on the other side of the ditch.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "Pilot error in that 1) He executed an IFR descent procedure other than that which was established for Mexico City International Airport; and 2) He discontinued IFR flight during the descent outside the area protected for VFR flight at that time of day and in the reported weather conditions, below the absolute minima established for descent."
» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 107-AN/81 (235-241)
» Scramble 193(64)
Follow-up / safety actions
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 Havana-Rancho Boyeros Airport to Mexico City-Benito Juárez International Airport as the crow flies is 1760 km (1100 miles).