CFIT Accident Douglas C-54B-5-DO (DC-4) XT-104,
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Date:Tuesday 21 December 1948
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Douglas C-54B-5-DO (DC-4)
Owner/operator:China National Aviation Corporation - CNAC
Registration: XT-104
MSN: 18348
Year of manufacture:1944
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney R-2000-11
Fatalities:Fatalities: 35 / Occupants: 35
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:Basalt Island -   Hong Kong
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Shanghai/Longhua (ZSSL)
Destination airport:Hong Kong-Kai Tak International Airport (HKG/VHHH)
A CNAC Douglas C-54B passenger plane, XT-104, took off from Longhua Airport in Shanghai and was scheduled to fly at an altitude of 8,000 feet to Hong Kong. The flight took off at 09:32 and was expected to arrive at 14:02. At 13:30, the aircraft contacted the Hong Kong Airport and reported that the plane was flying at 8,000 feet, approximately 80 - 100 miles northeast of Hong Kong.
The controller gave the pilot permission to descend to 4,500 feet. Weather at the time was poor with low visibility.
Another CNAC aircraft, XT-103, was due to land before XT-104, and at 13:00 the crew reported that they were still flying on instruments at an elevation of 300 feet and had decided to abort their approach and climb to a safer height. The aircraft then diverted to Guangzhou. Similarly, a Pan American Airways flight diverted to Manila just 10 minutes later.
Encountering much better weather to the northwest of Hong Kong, XT-103 returned and landed at Hong Kong at 14:01. At the same time XT-104 was descending through a gap in the clouds. There was no response to subsequent attempts to contact the flight.
The aircraft impacted into the north slope of Wan Tam Shan, the main peak on Basalt Island, at an elevation of about 350 feet. Part of the right wing separated. The rest of the plane essentially bounced off the impact point on the northern slope, carried on airborne over the ridge and landed again on the southern slope approximately 130 feet from the point of initial impact. The plane continued to slide down the southern slope before coming to a rest approximately 450 feet from the point of initial impact.


Basalt Island Crash Site Investigation / David A. Pickerell


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