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Accident description
Last updated: 23 October 2017
Status:
Date:Tuesday 1 March 1960
Type:Handley Page Hastings C.1
Operator:Royal Air Force - RAF
Registration: TG579
C/n / msn: HP67/70
First flight: 1949
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 14
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 20
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:3 km (1.9 mls) off Gan RAF Station (GAN) (   Maldives)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Katunayake RAF Station (CMB/VCBI), Sri Lanka
Destination airport:Gan RAF Station (GAN/VRMG), Maldives
Narrative:
The Hastings departed RAF Katunayake at 17:34 for a flight over the Indian Ocean to RAF Gan in the Maldives. Weather near Gan was poor with heavy rain and thunderstorm. The first approach was abandoned and the pilot decided to hold for 20 minutes, hoping the storm would pass. During the second approach a lightning flash blinded the pilots, during which the aircraft descended to a height just above the sea. The aircraft then hit the sea and crashed.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "A) Having descended below his calculated break off level of 420 ft. and losing visual contact with runway due to lightning flashes and rain, he failed to take immediate overshoot action.
B) In the meteorological conditions prevailing, he failed to make a standard bad weather circuit on established instrument approach. Instead he made a very long low approach to land in marginal weather conditions, and failed to have navigator co-relate Eureka range with L.(?) readings. Causal conditions were (1) Pilot fatigue and (2) Impairment of vision by rain."

Sources:
» BAAA-ACRO
» Hastings Bangs and Prangs and Splashes and Crashes


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Map
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 Katunayake RAF Station to Gan RAF Station as the crow flies is 1143 km (715 miles).

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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