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Last updated: 25 March 2019
Date:Saturday 19 February 1955
Time:07:13 MST
Type:Silhouette image of generic M404 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Martin 4-0-4
Operator:Trans World Airlines - TWA
Registration: N40416
C/n / msn: 14120
First flight:
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 13 / Occupants: 13
Total:Fatalities: 16 / Occupants: 16
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:21 km (13.1 mls) NE of Albuquerque Municipal Airport, NM (ABQ) (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Albuquerque Municipal Airport, NM (ABQ/KABQ), United States of America
Destination airport:Santa Fe Airport, NM (SAF/KSAF), United States of America
Flight 260 received an IFR clearance from the tower at 0703 hours: "ATC clears TWA260 for approach at the Santa Fe Airport via Victor 19 climb northbound on the back course of the ILS localizer". The flight departed Albuquerque at 0705 hours. The tower requested the flight to report over-the Weiler Intersection (formerly the Alameda Intersection), however, after taking off there were no further radio contacts with the flight. The aircraft was last seen at an estimated altitude of 3000 feet (8300 feet mean sea level) in a high speed shallow climb continuing its heading towards Sandia Ridge, the upper portion of which was obscured by clouds. The wreckage was sighted the following morning at 9243 feet mean sea level, just below the crest of Sandia Mountain, approximately 13 miles north-east of the Albuquerque Airport and almost directly on a straight line course of 30 degrees magnetic from that airport (elevation 5340 feet mean sea level) to the Santa. Fe Airport (elevation 6 344 feet mean sea level). The accident area is now unofficially called "TWA canyon".
The final accident investigation report on this accident was released on 12 October 1955. This report attributed the cause to 'a lack of conformity with prescribed en route procedures and the deviation from airways..'. Because of controversy over certain elements in the report, further study followed and an amended report, dated 26 August 1957, was issued by the CAB. Owing to further developments, the CAB, on 15 June 1960, released a supplement to its revised report of August 1957.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "A deviation from the prescribed flight path for reasons unknown."

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 50-AN/45 (74-76)
» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 62-AN/57 (9-15)
» ICAO Accident Digest No.8, Circular 54-AN/49 (13-15)


photo of Martin 4-0-4 N40416
photo of Martin 4-0-4 N40416
photo of Martin 4-0-4 N40416
photo of Martin 4-0-4 N40416
photo of Martin 4-0-4 N40416
photo of Martin 4-0-4 N40416
photo of Martin 4-0-4 N40416
photo of Martin 4-0-4 N40416
photo of Martin 4-0-4 N40416
photo of Martin 4-0-4 N40416
photo of Martin 4-0-4 N40416
photo of Martin 4-0-4 N40416
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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 Albuquerque Municipal Airport, NM to Santa Fe Airport, NM as the crow flies is 79 km (49 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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Martin 4-0-4

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