Accident
Last updated: 24 November 2014
Status:Final
Date:Friday 3 July 1970
Time:ca 19:00
Type:de Havilland DH-106 Comet 4
Operator:Dan-Air Services
Registration: G-APDN
C/n / msn: 6415
First flight: 1959
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) show on map
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 Airport (BCN/LEBL), Spain
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 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: "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."

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

Sources:
» Flight International 09.07.1970 (39)

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) - United Kingdom
report status: Final
report number: AAIB AAR 1/1972
report released:01-OCT-1971
duration of investigation:455 days (1 year 3 months)
download report: Dan Air Comet 4, G-APDN. Report on the accident which occurred in the Sierra del Montseny, in the Municipal District of Arbucias (Gerona), Spain, on 3 July 1970 (AAIB AAR 1/1972)
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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 Airport as the crow flies is 1369 km (856 miles).

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DH-106 Comet

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