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Accident description
Last updated: 20 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Friday 16 January 1942
Time:19:20
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-3-382
Operator:Transcontinental & Western Air - TWA
Registration: NC1946
C/n / msn: 3295
First flight: 1941
Engines: 2 Wright R-1820-G202A
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 19 / Occupants: 19
Total:Fatalities: 22 / Occupants: 22
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:53 km (33.1 mls) SW of Las Vegas, NV (   United States of America)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Las Vegas McCarran Field, NV (LSV/KLSV), United States of America
Destination airport:Hollywood-Lockheed Air Terminal, CA (BUR/KBUR), United States of America
Flightnumber: 3
Narrative:
The DC-3 collided with an almost vertical rock cliff, near the top of Potosi Mountain in the Spring Mountain Range. The point of impact was at an elevation of approximately 7,770 feet above sea level, about 80 feet below the top of the cliff, and abut 730 feet below the crest of the mountain, which has an elevation of about 8,500 feet above sea level.
American actress Carole Lombard (33) was killed in the accident.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Upon the basis of the foregoing findings and of the entire record available at this time, we find that the probable cause of the accident to aircraft NC 1946 on January 16, 1942, was the failure of the captain after departure from Las Vegas to follow the proper course by making use of the navigational facilities available to him.
CONTRIBUTING FACTORS: 1. The use of an erroneous compass course.; 2. Blackout of most of the beacons in the neighborhood of the accident made necessary by the was emergency.; 3. Failure of the pilot to comply with TWA's directive of July 17, 1941, issued in accordance with a suggestion from the Administrator of Civil Aeronautics requesting pilots to confine their flight movements to the actual on-course signals."

Classification:
Navigational error
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» CAB File No. 119-42


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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 Las Vegas McCarran Field, NV to Hollywood-Lockheed Air Terminal, CA as the crow flies is 375 km (234 miles).

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Douglas DC-3

  • ca 13.000 built
  • 33rd loss
  • 19th fatal accident
  • 2nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 176th worst accident (currently)
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