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Last updated: 27 September 2021
Status:
Date:Friday 13 June 1947
Time:08:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic JU52 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Amiot AAC.1(Junkers Ju-52/3m)
Operator:L'Armée de L'Air
Registration: 245
MSN: AAC245
First flight:
Crew:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 17
Total:Fatalities: 11 / Occupants: 22
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:90 km (56.3 mls) SE of Dalat (   Vietnam)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Saigon-Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN/VVTS), Vietnam
Destination airport:Dalat-Lienkhang Airport (DLI/VVDL), Vietnam
Narrative:
On Friday, June 13th 1947, Amiot AAC.1 n°245 of Groupe de Transport I/64 'Béarn' of the Groupement des Moyens Militaires de Transport Aérien of the Armée de l'Air (GT I/64, G.M.M.T.A.) was assigned for the regular ambulance flight transporting patients from Tan Son Nhut, Saigon, to the sanatorium at Dalat. Its crew consisted of pilot Sgt. André Dechelotte; flight engineer Repesse; navigator André Graveret; radio telegraphist Sgt. Casanova; and flight nurse Lucienne Just. It was carrying 17 passengers including women and children. The flight took place during the local monsoon season and was conducted under poor meteorological conditions, forcing the pilot to fly under IFR conditions. Its destination airport, Dalat, was located at an elevation of 962 m with surrounding mountains rising to 1500 m; the minimum safety altitude was 2000 m so in order to avoid terrain the flight maintained an altitude of 3000 m. With only wartime English air maps of the region at their disposal and no radio beacon available at Dalat, the flight was navigated using dead reckoning. About half an hour into an hour-long flight, the pilot started his descent through stratocumulus clouds. During his descent he suddenly saw terrain emerge from the clouds in front of him. Before he could pull up, the aircraft hit a mountain crest, causing the aircraft to break into two parts, with the front continuing beyond the crest, and the fuselage aft of the wings remaining on the other half. A post-crash fire partly consumed the aircraft's wreckage. The crash was witnessed by locals who organised a rescue expedition. On arriving at the wreckage, they found ten occupants had been killed outright, eight had been injured to varying degrees either through the crash or the ensuing fire, and a further four had escaped injury. During the evacuation of the survivors, one further crew member succumbed to his injuries. Pilot Dechelotte, navigator Graverette and flight mechanic Repesse survived the accident but sustained injuries; flight nurse Just was killed on impact; and radio telegraphist Casanova died as a result of severe burns during the medevac. Nine out of seventeen passengers did not survive, including four children. The aircraft was found to have crashed 10 km off-course, either through prevailing winds pushing it off its planned flight course; a navigation error or a combination of both. As a result of the prevailing instrument flight conditions, this meant the pilot initiated his descent over mountainous terrain when he expected to be over level terrain. The aircraft impacted terrain at 1100m altitude.

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» Jusqu’au sacrifice – Germaine L’Herbier-Montagnon – Editions E.C.L.A.I.R.
» Combat 15 June 1947
» Combat 17 June 1947
» The Sydney Morning Herald (Monday 16 June 1947)


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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 Saigon-Tan Son Nhat International Airport to Dalat-Lienkhang Airport as the crow flies is 213 km (133 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.
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