ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-47A-80-DL (DC-3) XH-SAA Pena Blanca Mt.
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Tuesday 6 January 1959
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-47A-80-DL (DC-3)
Operator:SAHSA - Servicio Aéreo de Honduras SA
Registration: XH-SAA
MSN: 19667
First flight: 1944
Total airframe hrs:15840
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Total:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Pena Blanca Mt. (   Guatemala)
Phase: Unknown (UNK)
Nature:Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Copán Airport (RUY/MHRU), Honduras
Destination airport:Nueva Ocotepeque Airport (MHSC), Guatemala
The DC-3 was being operated on a San Pedro Sula-Copan Ruinas VFR return flight. The aircraft landed at Copan Ruinas at 10:33 following a 1 hour and 38 minute flight. To take on extra fuel, the aircraft had to be flown to Nueva Ocotepeque first; the DC-3 took off at 11:13 for this 18-minute flight. The aircraft, however, failed to arrive at its destination. It appeared that the plane had crashed into the Pena Blanca Mountain.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The accident was caused by the pilot's attempt to fly over mountainous terrain by visual reference to the ground under weather conditions severely restricting visibility ahead of the aircraft, which forced him to descend to a dangerous altitude."

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» ICAO Accident Digest Circular 62-AN/57 (51-52)


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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 Copán Airport to Nueva Ocotepeque Airport as the crow flies is 169 km (106 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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