Accident description
Last updated: 20 April 2014
Status:Final
Date:Wednesday 4 December 1974
Time:ca 22:15
Type:Douglas DC-8-55F
Operator:Martinair Holland
Registration: PH-MBH
C/n / msn: 45818/242
First flight: 1966
Total airframe hrs:35613
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT3D-3B
Crew:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9
Passengers:Fatalities: 182 / Occupants: 182
Total:Fatalities: 191 / Occupants: 191
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Maskeliya (   Sri Lanka) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Surabaya-Juanda Airport (SUB/WARR), Indonesia
Destination airport:Colombo-Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB/VCBI), Sri Lanka
Flightnumber: 138
Narrative:
The aircraft departed Surabaya at 12:03 UTC for a hadj flight to Jeddah with a planned intermediate stop at Colombo. Around 16:30 UTC Colombo Control cleared the flight down from FL350 to FL150. At 16:38, when the flight was 50 nm from Colombo the air traffic controller cleared the flight further down to 5000 feet and to report reaching 8000 feet. At 16:44 Colombo Approach Control then cleared the flight down to 2000 feet and told them to expect a runway 04 approach. The crew were then to report overhead the KAT NDB or when the airfield was in sight. The crew continued their descent until the airplane crashed into the Anjimalai Mountain at an altitude of 4355 feet, about 40 nm East of Colombo.
was cleared to 2000 feet after reporting between 7000-6000 feet when 14 miles out. The aircraft later crashed into a mountain.


PROBABLE CAUSE: "Collision with rising terrain as the crew descended the aircraft below safe altitude owing to incorrect identification of their position vis-a-vis the airport. The investigation is of the opinion that this was the result of dependence on Doppler and Weather Radar Systems on board PH-MBH which left room for misinterpretation."

Events:


Sources:
» ICAO Circular 132-AN/93 (213-245)

Official accident investigation report
investigating agency: Sri Lanka Dept of Civil Aviation
report status: Final
report number:
report released:16-JUN-1975
duration of investigation:194 days (6.5 months)
download report: Report on the accident to Martinair DC-8 PH-MBH on 4 December 1974 (Sri Lanka Dept of Civil Aviation )
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Photos

photo of Douglas DC-8-55F PH-MBH
two pieces were found near the crash location
photo of McDonnell Douglas DC-8-55F PH-MBH
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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 Surabaya-Juanda Airport to Colombo-Bandaranaike International Airport as the crow flies is 3976 km (2485 miles).

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DC-8

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