ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-54B-1-DC (DC-4) N63396 Great Sitkin Island, AK
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Thursday 24 September 1959
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-54B-1-DC (DC-4)
Operator:Reeve Aleutian Airways
Registration: N63396
MSN: 10486
First flight: 1944
Crew:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 11 / Occupants: 11
Total:Fatalities: 16 / Occupants: 16
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Great Sitkin Island, AK (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Cold Bay Airport, AK (CDB/PACD), United States of America
Destination airport:Adak Naval Air Facility, AK (ADK/PADK), United States of America
Flightnumber: 3
The DC-4 was some 300 miles northeast of Adak when the crew reported flying 4500 feet on top in the clear. The flight was then cleared to the Adak range to maintain VFR on top and to call Adak approach control some 30 minutes before landing. At 17:15 AST the crew advised the company that it was cancelling IFR and proceeding VFR. This was the last radio contact with the flight. The DC-4 was found to have crashed on Sitkin Island at an elevation of 2100 feet (640 m).

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The captain's failure to maintain flight in accordance with visual flight rules during a descent over hazardous terrain."

Accident investigation:

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

VFR flight in IMC
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» ICAO Accident Digest, Circular 62-AN/57 (182-184)


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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 Cold Bay Airport, AK to Adak Naval Air Facility, AK as the crow flies is 982 km (614 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
  • 219th loss
  • 128th fatal accident
  • 53rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 77th worst accident (currently)
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