ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-8-21 XA-XAX New York-Idlewild International Airport, NY (IDL)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Thursday 19 January 1961
Type:Douglas DC-8-21
Operator:Aeronaves de México
Registration: XA-XAX
MSN: 45432/105
First flight: 1960
Total airframe hrs:529
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT4A-
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 9
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 97
Total:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 106
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:New York-Idlewild International Airport, NY (IDL) (   United States of America)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:New York-Idlewild International Airport, NY (IDL/KIDL), United States of America
Destination airport:Mexico City-Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX/MMMX), Mexico
Flightnumber: 401
The takeoff run from runway 07R was aborted, but the DC-8 crashed and burned.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The probable cause of the accident was the unnecessary discontinuing of the takeoff as a result of the action by the check-pilot, who was not in either pilot seat, in reaching forward without warning and pulling the throttles back This action caused power to be decreased on all four engines. Contributing factors were the marginally poor weather, snow on the runway, and the possibility of the pitot head heat not have been on."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report


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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 New York-Idlewild International Airport, NY to Mexico City-Benito Juárez International Airport as the crow flies is 3342 km (2089 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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  • 556 built
  • 2nd loss
  • 2nd fatal accident
  • 2nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 38th worst accident (currently)
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