Loss of control Accident Boeing 737-3Q8 SU-ZCF, Saturday 3 January 2004
ASN logo

Date:Saturday 3 January 2004
Type:Silhouette image of generic B733 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Boeing 737-3Q8
Owner/operator:Flash Airlines
Registration: SU-ZCF
MSN: 26283/2383
Year of manufacture:1992
Total airframe hrs:25603 hours
Cycles:17976 flights
Engine model:CFMI CFM56-3C1
Fatalities:Fatalities: 148 / Occupants: 148
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:15 km S off Sharm el Sheikh -   Egypt
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Sharm el Sheikh-Ophira Airport (SSH/HESH)
Destination airport:Cairo International Airport (CAI/HECA)
Investigating agency: ECAA
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Weather was perfect (excellent visibility, 17 degrees C and a light breeze) when Flash Air flight 604 departed the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh for a flight to Paris-CDG with an intermediate stop at Cairo. On board were 135, mostly French, holidaymakers who were heading home.
At 04:38 the flight was cleared to taxi to runway 22R for departure. After takeoff, at 04:42, the plane climbed and maneuvered for a procedural left turn to intercept the 306 radial from the Sharm el-Sheikh VOR station. When the autopilot was engaged the captain made an exclamation and the autopilot was immediately switched off again. The captain then requested Heading Select to be engaged. The plane then began to bank to the right. The copilot then warned the captain a few times about the fact that the bank angle was increasing. At a bank angle of 40 degrees to the right the captain stated "OK come out". The ailerons returned briefly to neutral before additional aileron movements commanded an increase in the right bank.
The aircraft had reached a maximum altitude of 5460 feet with a 50 degrees bank when the copilot stated: "Overbank". Repeating himself as the bank angle kept increasing. The maximum bank angle recorded was 111 degrees right. Pitch attitude at that time was 43 degrees nose down and altitude was 3470 feet.
The observer on the flight deck, a trainee copilot, called "Retard power, retard power, retard power". Both throttles were moved to idle and the airplane gently seemed to recover from the nose-down, right bank attitude. Speed however increased, causing an overspeed warning. At 04:45 the airplane struck the surface of the water in a 24 degrees right bank, 24 degrees nose-down, at a speed of 416 kts and with a 3,9 G load.
The wreckage sank to a depth of approx. 900 metres.

CONCLUSION: "No conclusive evidence could be found from the findings gathered through this investigation to determin the probable cause. However, based on the work done, it could be concluded that any combination of these findings could have caused or contributed to the accident.
Although the crew at the last stage of this accident attempted to correctly recover, the gravity upset condition with regards to attitude, altitude and speed made this attempt insufficient to achieve a successful recovery."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ECAA
Report number: Report su-f040103a
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 2 months
Download report: Final report




  • worst accident in 2004
  • worst accident of this aircraft type
  • worst accident of this aircraft type at the time



photo (c) Frank Ellemers; Sharm el Sheikh; 20 April 2012

photo (c) José Ramón Valero; Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD); 08 August 2003

photo (c) Panagiotis A. Pietris; Rhodes/Paradisi-Diagoras Airport (RHO/LGRP); 22 August 2003

Revision history:


The Aviation Safety Network is an exclusive service provided by:
Quick Links:

CONNECT WITH US: FSF on social media FSF Facebook FSF Twitter FSF Youtube FSF LinkedIn FSF Instagram

©2024 Flight Safety Foundation

1920 Ballenger Av, 4th Fl.
Alexandria, Virginia 22314