Aviateca Flight 901
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|Date||9 August 1995|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain due to pilot error and ATC error|
|Site||San Vicente, San Salvador, El Salvador |
|Aircraft type||Boeing 737-2H6|
|Call sign||AVIATECA 901|
|Flight origin||La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City, Guatemala|
|Destination||El Salvador International Airport, San Salvador, El Salvador|
Aviateca Flight 901 was a Boeing 737-200 (registration N125GU) that crashed into the 7,159-foot (2,182 m) San Vicente volcano in El Salvador on approach to the airport on 9 August 1995. The accident killed all 65 passengers and crew on board. It was the deadliest aviation disaster to occur in El Salvador.
Aviateca Flight 901 took off on a nighttime flight from La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, Guatemala, to El Salvador International Airport in San Salvador, El Salvador. There were 58 passengers and 7 crew on board. The flight crew consisted of 39-year-old Captain Axel Byron Herrera, 36-year-old First Officer Victor Francesco Salguero, three Flight Attendants and two Aviateca staffers.
After a 20-minute flight the crew of Flight 901 contacted air traffic control at their destination, El Salvador International Airport. The controller informed them that there was a thunderstorm with heavy rain over the airport and instructed them to fly over the storm and start their approach downwind to land on Runway 07. But the pilots and air traffic control were confused as to the position of the aircraft as it started its approach, and the aircraft entered the same bad weather that it had flown over. When it was at 5,000 feet (1,524 m), the Ground Proximity Warning System sounded; power was applied but it was too late. At 20:14 local time Flight 901 crashed into the side of the volcano San Vicente and burst into flames. All 65 passengers and crew on board were killed. Two passengers left the plane before taking off: Jean B Dupoux, an American, and Eishen a German.
The Dirección General De Transporte Aéreo determined 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 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 regarding 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 and warnings. An ineffective crew resource management program at Aviateca was held to have contributed to the accident.
- Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 737-2H6 N125GU San Salvador". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 4 March 2006. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
- Ranter, Harro. "El Salvador air safety profile". aviation-safety.net. Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 18 March 2005. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
- "Accident details". www.planecrashinfo.com. Archived from the original on 24 December 2001. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
- GRAPHIC Scene of the crash site of Flight 901 from Associated Press Archive