ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737-2H6 N125GU San Salvador
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Wednesday 9 August 1995
Type:Silhouette image of generic B732 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-2H6
Registration: N125GU
MSN: 23849/1453
First flight: 1987-09-26 (7 years 11 months)
Total airframe hrs:16645
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-15A
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Passengers:Fatalities: 58 / Occupants: 58
Total:Fatalities: 65 / Occupants: 65
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:24 km (15 mls) NE of San Salvador (   El Salvador)
Crash site elevation: 1800 m (5906 feet) amsl
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Guatemala City-La Aurora Airport (GUA/MGGT), Guatemala
Destination airport:San Salvador-Comalapa International Airport (SAL/MSLP), El Salvador
Flightnumber: 901
Flight GUG901 (Miami-Guatemala City-San Salvador-Managua-San Jose) encountered bad weather (heavy rain, thunderstorms) while approaching San Salvador. The crew therefore diverted off Airway G346 to avoid the thunderstorms. The aircraft should then have passed overhead the airport and turn right downwind for an ILS approach to runway 07. There seemed to be some confusion as to the position of the aircraft. The aircraft was at 5000 feet (as cleared by ATC) when the GPWS sounded. Full power was applied, but the Boeing struck the San Vicente Volcano (also known as Chinchontepec, 2181 m high) at an altitude of 1800 m.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Direccion General De Transporte Aereo determines that the probable cause of the accident was the flight crew's lack of situational awareness in relation to the 7,159 foot obstruction, the flight crew's decision to descend below the MSA while deviating from a published transition or approach, and the ambiguity of position information between both the flight crew and the air traffic controller which resulted in the controller's issuance of an altitude assignment that did not provide terrain clearance. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the First Officer to direct his concern of reported positions to the Captain in a more direct and assertive manner and the failure of the controller to recognize the aircraft's reported position relative to obstructions and give appropriate instructions/warnings. An ineffective CRM program at Aviateca also contributed to the accident ."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: AAC El Salvador
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 58 days (2 months)
Accident number: Final report
Download report: Final report

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» Air Safety Week 14 August 1995 (p. 2)
» Flight International 23-29 August 1995 (12)


photo of Boeing-737-2H6-9M-MBM
accident date: 09-08-1995
type: Boeing 737-2H6
registration: 9M-MBM

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 Guatemala City-La Aurora Airport to San Salvador-Comalapa International Airport as the crow flies is 202 km (126 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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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