Narrative:The Tupolev 134 departed Mbala (MMQ), Zambia, for a flight back to Maputo (MPM). The flight carried Mozambique president Samora Machel who had attended a meeting of African leaders in Zambia. While approaching Maputo, an inadvertent selection of the MATSAPA VOR frequency caused the crew to execute a premature 37-degrees turn. Although the pilot queried the turn, no effort was made to verify it by using the available navigational aids. The aircraft descended below the 3000 feet limit in spite of not having visual contact with Maputo. The crew erroneously assumed a power failure at Maputo.
A 32-second GPWS warning was ignored and the aircraft collided with the ground at 2187 feet, bounced and crashed into an uphill slope. The aircraft broke up, slid across the South African/Swaziland border and caught fire. Machel, along with 33 other occupants did not survive the accident.
Probable Cause:CAUSE: "The cause of the accident was that the flight crew failed to follow procedural requirements for an instrument let-down approach , but continued to descend under visual flight rules in darkness and some cloud, i.e. without having visual contact with the ground, below minimum safe altitude, and in addition the ignored GPWS alarm."
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain
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» Report of the Board of Inquiry into the accident to Tupolev 134A-3 aircraft C9-CAA on 19th October 1986
Follow-up / safety actions
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 Mbala Airport to Maputo International Airport as the crow flies is 1894 km (1183 miles).