Accident McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 N903WA, Wednesday 31 October 1979
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Date:Wednesday 31 October 1979
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC10 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10
Owner/operator:Western Air Lines
Registration: N903WA
MSN: 46929/107
Year of manufacture:1973
Total airframe hrs:24614 hours
Cycles:7345 flights
Engine model:General Electric CF6-6K
Fatalities:Fatalities: 72 / Occupants: 88
Other fatalities:1
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:Mexico City-Juarez International Airport (MEX) -   Mexico
Phase: Landing
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX)
Destination airport:Mexico City-Benito Juárez International Airport (MEX/MMMX)
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Flight 2605 departed Los Angeles at 01:40 for a flight to Mexico City. Because of refurbishing work on runway 23L, the flight was cleared for a runway 23R approach. Descend through a fog bank was continued below the 600 feet minimum for instrument approaches. The aircraft touched down with the left main gear in the grass left of 23L and with the right main gear on the runway shoulder. Go-around power was added and the nose lifted 10-11deg. The right main gear then collided with a truck located on the runway. The gear leg separated and struck the right tailplane and elevator, causing substantial damage. The aircraft banked to the right until it struck the left wing struck the cab of an excavator, 1500 m from the runway threshold, continued and crashed into a building and caught fire.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Non-compliance with the meteorological minima for the approach procedure, as cleared; failure to comply with the aircraft's operating procedures during the approach phase, and landing on a runway closed to traffic."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: 
Report number: DCA80RA003
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


ICAO Circular 173-AN/109
NTSB Safety Recommendations A-80-59/60


  • 6th worst accident in 1979
  • 7th worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 3rd worst accident of this aircraft type at the time



photo (c) C. Waldenmaier, via Werner Fischdick; San Francisco-International Airport, CA (SFO); October 1978

Revision history:


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