ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-54A-10-DC (DC-4) XA-HEG Puerto Somoza
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Thursday 15 November 1956
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-54A-10-DC (DC-4)
Operator:Guest Aerovias Mexico
Registration: XA-HEG
MSN: 10324
First flight: 1944
Crew:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 20 / Occupants: 20
Total:Fatalities: 25 / Occupants: 25
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:13 km (8.1 mls) NNW of Puerto Somoza (   Nicaragua)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Panama City-Tocumen International Airport (PTY/MPTO), Panama
Destination airport:Guatemala City-La Aurora Airport (GUA/MGGT), Guatemala
The DC-4 was on a flight from Panama City-Tocumen to Mexico City via Guatemala City. Last report was at 14:53 when the flight reported over Managua at 8500 feet. A fire on board probably forced the crew to start an emergency descent. An emergency belly landing was presumably attempted on the flat and sandy part of Salinas Grandes. Excessive speed caused the plane to overshoot this area and crash into trees.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "It was not possible to determine the origin of the fire in the main section of the hydraulic and fuel distribution systems; this determination will depend upon the results of laboratory tests and maintenance reports; when these are in, a reasonable conclusion can be reached regarding the probable cause of fire in flight. This may have been occasioned by a number of causes, for example, breaking of a hydraulic pressure line, short circuits in the electrical wiring or leakage of fuel lines or tanks, etc."

Inflight fire
Forced landing outside airport

» ICAO Accident Digest No.8, Circular 54-AN/49 (152-155)


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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 Panama City-Tocumen International Airport to Guatemala City-La Aurora Airport as the crow flies is 1351 km (845 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
  • 197th loss
  • 115th fatal accident
  • 38th worst accident (at the time)
  • 56th worst accident (currently)
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