58 Years ago today: On 12 September 1961 an Air France Caravelle crashed near Rabat, Morocco, killing 77 people.
|Date:||Tuesday 12 September 1961|
|Type:||Sud Aviation SE-210 Caravelle III|
|C/n / 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 fate:||Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||9 km (5.6 mls) SSW of Rabat-Sale Airport (RBA) ( Morocco)|
|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: “In the opinion of the board of inquiry of all the theories listed above, those related 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.”