Designated as a supplemental service, flight 2605 LAX
was operated by the DC10-10 N903WA.
As the aircraft prepared to land at MEX
airport, the control tower operator informed the crew that the runway in use was 23R.
However, the adjacent runway 23L which had been closed for resurfacing was the runway equipped with both ILS facilities and approach lights.
For that reason, the Captain apparently elected to execute a "side-step" manoeuvre, using the ILS of the 23L before transitioning over to 23R...
In accordance with this procedure, the crew would be required to abandon the approach if no visual contact was established at an aboce ground height of 600ft (180m).
During the final approach, the tower controller drew the crew's attention to the fact that the aircraft had deviated to the left of the correct flight path, and again advised that Runway 23L was closed.
The DC-10 then entered a fog bank at an approximate altitude of 800ft (250m), and a crewman reported that the approach lights could not be seen.
Inexplicably, the DC-10 did not land on 23R. Instead, its left main gear touched down the grass to the left of the pavement of 23L, and the right one on that Runway's shoulder. The aircraft then entered the Runway, after which full power was applied and a go-around initiated.
However, just after becoming airborne again, the DC-10 collied with an earth-laden dump truck that was being driven on the shoulder of the closed Runway.
The impact sheared off the right main gear, and the underarriage leg itself then hit and severed the aircraft's starboard horizontal tailplane.
Porions of the right wing flaps were also torn away.
Due to this damage, the DC-10 banked steeply to the right and its starboard wing was fractured when it scrapped along the taxiway.
The DC10 right wing then struck a repair hangar, rupturing the fuel tanks and the aircraft finally slammed into another building, broke appart and was swept by flames.
Killed in the accident were 72 on the 89 persons aboard the aircraft (61 PAX + 11 crew members) and the driver of the dump truck.
Except for two passengers, the 17 survivors, who also included two F/A, suffered various injuries.
The crash occurred around dawn, and in addition to the fog there was mist and haze in the area.
Visibility had been reduced to zero.
The flight crew did not complied with the approach procedure being used and had descended below the minimum height without reporting the runway in sight. Analysis of the CVR (Cockpit oice Recorder) tape also indicated that the required altitude call-outs had not been made during the descent.
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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.