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Accident description
Last updated: 23 November 2017
Status:
Date:Tuesday 27 September 1977
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC86 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas DC-8-62H
Operator:Japan Air Lines - JAL
Registration: JA8051
C/n / msn: 46152/550
First flight: 1971
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT3D-
Crew:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 10
Passengers:Fatalities: 26 / Occupants: 69
Total:Fatalities: 34 / Occupants: 79
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:6,5 km (4.1 mls) NW of Kuala Lumpur Subang International Airport (KUL) (   Malaysia)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Hong Kong-Kai Tak International Airport (HKG/VHHH), Hong Kong
Destination airport:Kuala Lumpur Subang International Airport (KUL/WMKK), Malaysia
Flightnumber:JL715
Narrative:
The aircraft struck a 300 feet hill, 4 miles short of the runway while on a VOR approach to runway 15 at Kuala Lumpur Subang International Airport (KUL), Malaysia.
The aircraft had descended below MDA of 750 feet.

Probable Cause:

The accident was caused by the captain descending below minimum descent altitude without having the runway in sight, and continuing the descent until the aircraft struck terrain four nautical miles short of the runway threshold.
A subsidiary contributory factor was insufficient monitoring of the aircraft's flight path by the captain under the adverse weather conditions with several aircraft in the holding pattern awaiting their turn for approach and, more importantly, the co-pilot's failure to challenge the captain's breach of company regulations.

Sources:
» JAL Safety Promotion Center


Photos

photo of McDonnell Douglas DC-8-62H JA8051
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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 Hong Kong-Kai Tak International Airport to Kuala Lumpur Subang International Airport as the crow flies is 2545 km (1591 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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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DC-8

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  • 44th loss
  • 30th fatal accident
  • 15th worst accident (at the time)
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 Malaysia
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  • 2nd worst accident (currently)
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