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Date:Wednesday 1 November 1961
Time:ca 05:15 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC7 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-7C
Operator:Panair do Brasil
Registration: PP-PDO
MSN: 44872/643
First flight: 1955
Crew:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 9
Passengers:Fatalities: 38 / Occupants: 79
Total:Fatalities: 45 / Occupants: 88
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:2,7 km (1.7 mls) NW of Recife-Guararapes International Airport, PE (REC) (   Brazil)
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Sal-Amilcar Cabral International Airport (SID/GVAC), Cape Verde
Destination airport:Recife-Guararapes International Airport, PE (REC/SBRF), Brazil
The DC-7, operating on a flight from Lisbon to Recife via Ilha do Sal, approached Recife at night in good visibility. The crew apparently performed a direct entry into the base leg, flying too low and out of the regular traffic pattern, in spite of the fact that the pilot had reported on wind leg. The plane struck a 84 m high hill and broke up, 2720 m short of the runway 15 threshold and right of the extended centreline.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The accident was caused by pilot error, i.e. improper evaluation of distance, flying a non-standard traffic pattern by night and failing to observe altitude minima during the final approach.
A contributing cause was the improper night marking of obstructions along the approach path towards runway 15."


» ICAO Circular 69-AN/61


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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 Sal-Amilcar Cabral International Airport to Recife-Guararapes International Airport, PE as the crow flies is 3045 km (1903 miles).
Accident location: Global; accuracy within tens or hundreds of kilometers.

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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Douglas DC-7

  • 339 built
  • 17th loss
  • 10th fatal accident
  • 5th worst accident (at the time)
  • 8th worst accident (currently)
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  • 4th worst accident (at the time)
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