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Last updated: 17 January 2022
Date:Thursday 3 February 2005
Time:ca 15:15
Type:Silhouette image of generic B732 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-242 Advanced
Operating for:Kam Air
Leased from:Phoenix Aviation
Registration: EX-037
MSN: 22075/630
First flight: 1980-01-04 (25 years 1 months)
Total airframe hrs:51363
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-17A (HK3)
Crew:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 8
Passengers:Fatalities: 97 / Occupants: 97
Total:Fatalities: 105 / Occupants: 105
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:32 km (20 mls) ESE of Kabul Airport (KBL) (   Afghanistan)
Crash site elevation: 3368 m (11050 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Herat Airport (HEA/OAHR), Afghanistan
Destination airport:Kabul Airport (KBL/OAKB), Afghanistan
Flightnumber: 904
Kam Air Flight 904 from Herat to Kabul, Afghanistan, was destroyed when it impacted a mountain side during descent. All 105 on board were killed.
The Boeing 737-242 aircraft, with Kyrgyz Republic registration EX-037, departed from Herat at 10:02 UTC. The estimated time of arrival (ETA) at Kabul International Airport was 10:55 UTC.
The aircraft was cruising at flight level 270 when it contacted Bagram Radar Approach Control ("Bagram") for descent and landing. The flight was normal until it failed to level at flight level 130 during the VOR/DME approach.
At 10:43 UTC, Bagram cleared the flight to descend at its discretion and to expect the VOR approach to runway 29. The prevailing weather was also passed on to the aircraft. Visibility was reported 2 kilometers with snow, ceiling 2200 feet broken. wind calm and altimeter setting QNH 1016.
When the aircraft was 35 miles west of the Kabul VOR, radar contact was established with Bagram. The aircraft was advised by Bagram to cross the VOR at or above flight level 130 and cleared it for the VOR/DME approach to runway 29 at Kabul Airport. At 10:48 UTC the aircraft reported flight level 130.
Bagram again cleared the aircraft for the VOR approach to runway 29 and advised the aircraft to report procedure turn inbound. The crew replied that they would report proceeding inbound for the VOR approach to runway 29. This was the last transmission from the aircraft.

Search for the aircraft was delayed and hampered due to a severe snowstorm in the region. The aircraft was located approximately three days later by an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) helicopter
The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) was recovered, but the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) could not be found. No data was found recorded on the FDR.

Probable Cause:

Probable Cause: "The accident occurred probably due to the premature descent by the Aircraft below its minimum assigned altitude of 13,000 feet during approach in weather conditions below VFR requirements. The reason for descending below the minimum altitude could not be determined due to inadequate evidence."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAO Afghanistan
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 years
Accident number: Final report
Download report: Final report

VFR flight in IMC
Premature descent
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

» Reuters

Follow-up / safety actions

MoT Afghanistan issued 7 Safety Recommendations

Show all...


photo of Boeing-737-242-EX-037
accident date: 03-02-2005
type: Boeing 737-242
registration: EX-037
photo of Boeing-737-242-N238TA
accident date: 03-02-2005
type: Boeing 737-242
registration: N238TA

Aircraft history
date registration operator remarks
04 JAN 1980 C-GNDR Nordair
31 JAN 1981 N8536Z Wien Air Alaska leased
25 APR 1981 C-GNDR Nordair returned
02 JAN 1987 C-GNDR CP Air airline merged
26 APR 1987 C-GNDR Canadian Airlines International airline merged
25 JUL 1991 N238TA TACA International leased
01 DEC 1991 N238TA Aviateca sub leased
08 SEP 1992 N238TA TACA International returned
07 DEC 1992 N238TA LACSA transferred
20 AUG 1993 N238TA Ecuatoriana sub leased
N238TA TACA International returned
N238TA LACSA transferred
26 AUG 2004 EX-037 Phoenix Aviation
26 OCT 2004 EX-037 Kam Air leased

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 Herat Airport to Kabul Airport as the crow flies is 638 km (399 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from 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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