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Last updated: 16 November 2018
Status:Final
Date:Friday 16 August 1991
Time:12:46
Type:Silhouette image of generic B732 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-2A8 Advanced
Operator:Indian Airlines
Registration: VT-EFL
C/n / msn: 21497/504
First flight: 1977-11-17 (13 years 9 months)
Total airframe hrs:29729
Cycles:33574
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17A
Crew:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 63 / Occupants: 63
Total:Fatalities: 69 / Occupants: 69
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:38 km (23.8 mls) SW of Imphal Municipal Airport (IMF) (   India)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Calcutta-Netaji Subhas Chandra Airport (CCU/VECC), India
Destination airport:Imphal Municipal Airport (IMF/VEIM), India
Flightnumber: 257
Narrative:
Indian Airlines flight IC257 departed Calcutta at 11:54 on a scheduled 60-minute flight to Imphal, India.
The crew contacted Imphal at 12:34. The flight was cleared to descent to from FL290 to 10,000 feet and asked to report overhead the VOR for ILS runway 04.
At 12:39 the crew reported 12 miles inbound at 10,000 feet. The pilot then asked the air traffic controller as to whether they could set course directly outbound for let down. This was approved. Two minutes later the flight reported approaching overhead the VOR, although it was still 14 miles out. The controller then queried: "understand you are proceeding on a radial 217 for ILS". This was confirmed by the crew.
At 12:42 Imphal ATC cleared the flight to proceed outbound for an ILS approach to runway 04 descending to 5,000 feet. At 12:44 the flight reported commencing the procedure turn. This was the last contact with the flight.
The airplane impacted Thangjing Hill, in inclement weather conditions with low clouds and occasional rain.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The accident occurred by reason of a grave error on the part of the Pilot-in-Command in not adhering to the operational flight plan and ILS let down chart and not realizing that his early descent to 10,000 feet and turning right for outbound leg without reporting overhead VOR would result in loss of time
reference and as such misplace him in the hilly terrain. The Pilot-in-Command's action may have been influenced by his extreme familiarity with the terrain".

Classification:

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» Civil aviation aircraft accident summary for the year 1991 (DGAC India)


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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 Calcutta-Netaji Subhas Chandra Airport to Imphal Municipal Airport as the crow flies is 599 km (374 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

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