Narrative:Prinair flight 277 departed Saint Thomas at 17:15 for an IFR flight to San Juan. At 17:32, the flight contacted San Juan Approach Control and advised that the flight was maintaining 4,000 feet. The trainee approach controller replied:"Prinair two seven seven San Juan Approach Control radar contact three miles east of Isla Verde fly a heading of two five zero for a vector to ILS final maintain four thousand." Actually the flight was 3 miles east of the Fajardo intersection instead of the Isla Verde intersection which is located about 10 miles west of the Fajardo intersection. One minute later the Heron was cleared to descend to 3,000 feet. At 17:38, after being vectored for a runway 07 approach, the airplane contacted trees and crashed, coming to rest near the top of a knoll in the Sierra de Luquillo mountains at an elevation of about 2400 feet.
|Date:||Wednesday 5 March 1969|
|Type:||de Havilland DH-114 Heron 2D|
|C/n / msn:|| 14125|
|First flight:|| 1967|
|Total airframe hrs:||4167|
|Engines:|| 4 Rolls Royce Gipsy Queen 30 Mk.2|
|Crew:||Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2|
|Passengers:||Fatalities: 17 / Occupants: 17|
|Total:||Fatalities: 19 / Occupants: 19 |
|Airplane damage:|| Damaged beyond repair|
|Location:||24 km (15 mls) S of San Juan ( Puerto Rico)
|Phase:|| Approach (APR)|
|Nature:||Domestic Scheduled Passenger|
|Departure airport:||Saint Thomas Airport (STT/TIST), U.S. Virgin Islands|
|Destination airport:||San Juan-Isla Verde International Airport (SJU/TJSJ), Puerto Rico|
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The vectoring of the aircraft into mountainous terrain, under IFR conditions, without adequate obstruction clearance altitude by a controller who, for reasons beyond his control, was performing beyond the safe limits of his performance capability and without adequate supervision."
Official accident investigation report
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 Saint Thomas Airport to San Juan-Isla Verde International Airport as the crow flies is 108 km (68 miles).