Narrative:Immediately after takeoff from Sigonella NAS on the Italian island of Sicily, the aircraft’s no. 3 engine experienced an uncontained failure. Debris was ejected and the caused no. 4 engine to also fail. Debris also severed the elevator trim electrical cables, eliminating any trim during flap retraction. Further debris entered the cargo compartment, starting a fire in a pallet containing paint. The cargo fire produced thick poisonous smoke which made visual control of aircraft extremely difficult. The aircraft entered a steep bank and crashed within 198 seconds of takeoff.
Post crash toxicology indicated the crew had received potentially fatal levels of cyanide poisoning from the smoke, prior to impact. Subsequent to this accident, smoke goggles were added to crew oxygen masks.
The aircraft operated on a service to Diego Garcia with a planned refueling and crew change stop at Nairobi, Kenya.
Uncontained engine failure
Loss of control
» C-141 Lifetime Mishap Summary / Lt. Col. Paul M. Hansen, USAFR, Ret. McChord AFB WA (1 October, 2004)
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 Sigonella Naval Air Field to Nairobi-Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as the crow flies is 4832 km (3020 miles).
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.