ASN Aircraft accident Tupolev Tu-134A-3 C9-CAA Komatipoort
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Sunday 19 October 1986
Type:Silhouette image of generic T134 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Tupolev Tu-134A-3
Operator:República de Moçambique
Registration: C9-CAA
MSN: 63457
First flight: 1980-10-14 (6 years )
Total airframe hrs:1105
Engines: 2 Soloviev D-30-III
Crew:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 9
Passengers:Fatalities: 26 / Occupants: 35
Total:Fatalities: 34 / Occupants: 44
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Komatipoort (   South Africa)
Crash site elevation: 667 m (2188 feet) amsl
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:Official state flight
Departure airport:Mbala Airport (MMQ/FLBA), Zambia
Destination airport:Maputo International Airport (MPM/FQMA), Mozambique
The Tupolev Tu-134 departed Mbala (MMQ), Zambia, for a flight back to Maputo (MPM). The flight carried Mozambique president Samora Machel who had attended a meeting of African leaders in Zambia. While approaching Maputo, an inadvertent selection of the MATSAPA VOR frequency caused the crew to execute a premature 37-degrees turn. Although the pilot queried the turn, no effort was made to verify it by using the available navigational aids. The aircraft descended below the 3000 feet limit in spite of not having visual contact with Maputo. The crew erroneously assumed a power failure at Maputo.
A 32-second GPWS warning was ignored and the aircraft collided with the ground at 2187 feet, bounced and crashed into an uphill slope. The aircraft broke up, slid across the South African/Eswatini border and caught fire. Machel, along with 33 other occupants did not survive the accident.

Probable Cause:

CAUSE: "The cause of the accident was that the flight crew failed to follow procedural requirements for an instrument let-down approach , but continued to descend under visual flight rules in darkness and some cloud, i.e. without having visual contact with the ground, below minimum safe altitude, and in addition the ignored GPWS alarm."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 256 days (9 months)
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report

Aircraft strayed off planned course
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» Flight International 22 November 1986 (14-15)
» Flight International 1 November 1986 (10)
» Report of the Board of Inquiry into the accident to Tupolev 134A-3 aircraft C9-CAA on 19th October 1986

Follow-up / safety actions

BoI SA issued 5 Safety Recommendations

Show all...


photo of Tupolev-Tu-134A-3-C9-CAA
photo of Tupolev-Tu-134A-C9-CAA
accident date: 19-10-1986
type: Tupolev Tu-134A
registration: C9-CAA

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 Mbala Airport to Maputo International Airport as the crow flies is 1894 km (1183 miles).
Accident location: Exact; as reported in the official accident report.

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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Tupolev Tu-134

  • 725 built
  • 35th loss
  • 21st fatal accident
  • 11th worst accident (at the time)
  • 19th worst accident (currently)
» safety profile

 South Africa
  • The worst accident
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