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Last updated: 5 December 2021
Date:Tuesday 12 September 1961
Time:21:09 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic S210 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III
Operator:Air France
Registration: F-BJTB
MSN: 68
First flight: 1961-05-17 (4 months)
Total airframe hrs:688
Crew:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 71 / Occupants: 71
Total:Fatalities: 77 / Occupants: 77
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:9 km (5.6 mls) SSW of Rabat-Sale Airport (RBA) (   Morocco)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Paris-Orly Airport (ORY/LFPO), France
Destination airport:Rabat-Sale Airport (RBA/GMME), Morocco
The Caravelle III, operated by Air France, was destroyed when it crashed near Rabat-Sale Airport in Morocco. All 77 on board were killed.
Flight 2005 departed Paris-Orly Airport, France, to Rabat and Casablanca, Morocco. Meteorological conditions at Rabat Airport were unfavourable owing to thick, low fog which reduced horizontal visibility and ceiling.
The aircraft passed KJ NDB (Non Directional Beacon), which is located 800m west of Rabat Airport, and made a 360 turn to loose altitude. Now flying at 1650 feet, the Caravelle passed Rabat city. At 21:08 the crew requested a 180 turn to intercept the runway 04 localizer. KJ NDB would be used as backup for the final approach. The control tower advised the crew that KJ NDB was not in line with runway 04, but he did not receive a confirmation. At 21:10 he informed the crew about the visibility which was now less than 100m. Again flight 2005 did not confirm the message.
It appeared that the Caravelle was on the 4 mile final when it struck the ground. The nose gear touched the ground at 21:09 followed by the main gear. The Caravelle then struck a rock and burst into flames when it hit a hill.

Probable Cause:

PPROBABL CAUSE: "In the opinion of the board of inquiry of all the theories listed above, those related to material failure appear the least likely. On the other hand, the theory regarding an error in instrument reading appears more probable than the others. Therefore, the Board explained the failure: 1) by the fact that reading of the Kollsman window altimeter, with which this Caravelle was equipped, may be delicate, as demonstrated by some systematic tests carried out by highly trained crews of various European airlines; 2) by the possibility that the pilot made that error of 1 000 ft at the beginning of the descent, retaining it, then gave his full attention to reading the pointer, which seemed to him to be of prime importance, in order to bring in the aircraft at the minimum authorized altitude."

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Ground

» ICAO Accident Digest 13 (No.31)


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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 Paris-Orly Airport to Rabat-Sale Airport as the crow flies is 1784 km (1115 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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