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Last updated: 3 December 2021
Date:Saturday 11 December 1999
Type:Silhouette image of generic ATP model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
British Aerospace ATP
Operator:SATA Air Açores
Registration: CS-TGM
MSN: 2030
First flight: 1990
Total airframe hrs:11305
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW126
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 31 / Occupants: 31
Total:Fatalities: 35 / Occupants: 35
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:São Jorge Island, Azores (   Portugal)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Ponta Delgada-Nordela Airport, Azores (PDL/LPPD), Portugal
Destination airport:Horta Airport, Azores (HOR/LPHR), Portugal
Flightnumber: 530M
SATA flight 530 departed from Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island, at about 09:30 for a flight to Horta on Faial Island. The weather en route was affected by a frontal system with scattered cumulonimbus, heavy showers, turbulence and strong winds from the southwest. The crew decided to alter their flight plan, opting for a route that included approach descent over the channel between Pico and São Jorge islands to intercept the 250 degree VOR/VFL Horta radial. Horta tower initially cleared the flight to FL100. The crew then requested and were cleared to descent to 5000 feet with the instruction of maintaining visual contact with Pico Island. During the descent heavy rain and turbulence were encountered. Seven minutes after initiating the descent, the airplane impacted the northern hillside of Pico da Esperança Mountain (1067 m high) on São Jorge Island in IMC. GPWS alerted the crew 17 seconds before impact.

Probable Cause:

CAUSES (translated from Portuguese):
The Investigation Committee determined that the causes of the accident were:
- Failure to respect the safety altitude - the en route controlled flight into terrain;
- Inaccurate dead reckoning;
- No proper use of airborne weather radar as an additional ease of navigation;
- Lack of cross-checking the information of the radio altimeter and barometric altimeters.

Contributing factors:
- Weather conditions in the area of the accident;
- Lack of autonomous means of navigation on board the aircraft, which could determine its position with greater precision;

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: GPS Portugal
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: 21 /ACCID/GPS/99
Download report: Final report

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» ICAO Adrep


photo of BAe-ATP-CS-TGM
accident date: 11-12-1999
type: BAe ATP
registration: CS-TGM
photo of BAe-ATP-CS-TGM
photo of BAe-ATP-CS-TGM
accident date: 11-12-1999
type: BAe ATP
registration: CS-TGM

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 Ponta Delgada-Nordela Airport, Azores to Horta Airport, Azores as the crow flies is 276 km (172 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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