Linea Aeropostal Venezolana Flight 253 (November 1956)
An L-749 Constellation similar to the accident aircraft
|Date||November 27, 1956|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain|
|Site||18 km (11.3 mls) ESE of Caracas Airport, Venezuela|
|Aircraft type||Lockheed L-749 Constellation|
|Flight origin||New York-Idlewild International Airport (IDL/KIDL)|
|Destination||Caracas Airport (CCS/SVMI)|
Linea Aeropostal Flight 253 was being operated by a Lockheed L-749 Constellation, registration YV-C-AMA, on an international scheduled passenger service that took off from Idlewild International Airport bound for Caracas International Airport on November 27, 1956. Flight 253, operated by a Constellation, named Jose Marti being piloted by a French Captain named Marcel Combalbert, crashed into a mountain near Caracas Venezuela. All 25 passengers and crew on board were killed.
Flight 253 was flying through a rainstorm as it approached Caracas Airport. It was approximately 18 kilometers from the runway, when the aircraft struck the southern ridge of Cerro El Ávila at 6700 feet altitude.
Ten Americans were among those killed in the crash. St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Charlie Peete, his wife Nettie, and their three small children were among the victims. Peete was traveling to Venezuela in order to play winter ball there.
Aftermath and cause
Cable cars were used in the recovery of bodies.
The probable cause of the crash was determined to be: "The instrument flight training manuals show that the Linea Aeropostal Venezolana has approved a procedure for entering Maiquetia in semi-IFR conditions. This procedure consists in maintaining a minimum flight level of 10000ft as far as the station (Miq 292.5), then turning north over this pount and continuing on a 360deg heading for 4 minutes followed by a standard let-down to 1200ft above sea level until contact is established, and a return to the aerodrome under VFR. It is obvious that the pilot-in-command did not fully comply with this procedure, and, after accumulating errors in estimating his speed, endeavoured to make a direct approach which proved fatal because his altitude at the time of his last report was insufficient to cross the Avila mountain range against which the impact occurred."
- "Ten Americans dead in crash". The Victoria Advocate (Victoria, TX). AP. 1956-11-28. p. 1. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- "Recover all bodies from Caracas wreck". Lewiston Evening Journal (Lewiston-Auburn, ME). AP. 1956-11-28. p. 9. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- Accident description for Lockheed L-749-79 Constellation YV-C-AMA Caracas Airport at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 2014-07-23.