ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-54G-1-DO (DC-4) NC95422 Mount Sanford, AK
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Friday 12 March 1948
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-54G-1-DO (DC-4)
Operator:Northwest Airlines
Registration: NC95422
MSN: 35966
First flight: 1945
Total airframe hrs:3306
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-2000-13
Crew:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 24 / Occupants: 24
Total:Fatalities: 30 / Occupants: 30
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Mount Sanford, AK (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Anchorage-Merrill Field, AK (MRI/PAMR), United States of America
Destination airport:New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA/KLGA), United States of America
Northwest flight 4422 was a non-scheduled charter flight en route from Shanghai-Lunghwa Airport to La Guardia Field. An intermediate stop was made at Anchorage. Takeoff from Anchorage was accomplished at 20:12 and the DC-4 climbed to the cruising altitude of 11,000 feet. The last position report was at 21:03 when the flight reported being over the Gulkana radio range station. At that point the airway deflects to the north, its course being 23 degrees, to provide a safe lateral distance from Mt. Sanford which has an elevation of 16,208 feet. The DC-4 continued off the airway and flew into Mount Sanford. The wreckage slid down for about 3000 feet before coming to rest. The wreckage was spotted the day after the accident, but it took until July 24, 1999 before someone was able to reach the crash site.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the pilot's failure to see Mt. Sanford, which was probably obscured by clouds or the aurora borealis or both while flying a course off the airway."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» CAB File No. 1-0025


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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 Anchorage-Merrill Field, AK to New York-La Guardia Airport, NY as the crow flies is 5367 km (3355 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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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Douglas DC-4

  • 1242 built
  • 89th loss
  • 46th fatal accident
  • 10th worst accident (at the time)
  • 45th worst accident (currently)
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