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Accident description
Last updated: 20 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Friday 3 July 1970
Time:19:05
Type:Silhouette image of generic COMT model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland DH-106 Comet 4
Operator:Dan-Air Services
Registration: G-APDN
C/n / msn: 6415
First flight: 1959-09-29 (10 years 9 months)
Total airframe hrs:25786
Engines: 4 Rolls-Royce Avon 524
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 105 / Occupants: 105
Total:Fatalities: 112 / Occupants: 112
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Sierra del Montseny (   Spain)
Crash site elevation: 1158 m (3799 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Manchester International Airport (MAN/EGCC), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN/LEBL), Spain
Flightnumber:DA1903
Narrative:
Comet G-APDN departed Manchester at 16:08 for a charter flight to Barcelona. ATC delays in the Paris area resulted in a different route to be flown. At 17:53 the pilot contacted Barcelona ACC. The aircraft was then cleared to descend from FL220 to FL90. At 17:59 the flight switched to Barcelona Approach. Barcelona Approach cleared the crew direct to the Sabadell beacon and cleared them to descend to FL60. While carrying out a left turn to a heading of 140deg, as instructed by Barcelona Approach, the crew mistakenly reported passing the Sabadell NDB. At that time another aircraft overflew Sabadell, causing the error to go unnoticed by the controller. The controller then cleared the Comet to descend to 2800 feet. At approx. 18:05 UTC the aircraft struck beech trees on the north-east slopes of the cloud-covered Les Angudes peak at an altitude of about 3800 feet and crashed.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "To sum up, it can be deduced that the combination of erroneous information regarding reporting points, together with the existence of a radar echo over Sabadell NDB (coinciding with the report from the aircraft of passing that reporting point), led both the aircraft and APP to believe, erroneously, that the aircraft was already over Sabadell; this was an involuntary error (on both sides: ATC and aircraft) which was physically impossible to correct when Air Traffic Control realised it."

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: AIB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 3 months
Accident number: AAR 1/1972
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Navigational error
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» Flight International 09.07.1970 (39)


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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 Manchester International Airport to Barcelona-El Prat Airport as the crow flies is 1369 km (856 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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DH-106 Comet

  • 112 built
  • 23rd loss
  • 12th fatal accident
  • The worst accident
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 Spain
  • The worst accident (at the time)
  • 8th worst accident (currently)
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