Date & Time: Mar 21, 1991 at 0215 LT
Type of aircraft:
Lockheed P-3 Orion
Survey / Patrol / Reconnaissance
Lake, Sea, Ocean, River
Moffett - Moffett
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
The aircraft departed Moffett AFB on a combined survey mission over the Pacific Ocean with a second USN Orion registered 158930 carrying a crew of 14. While cruising at an altitude of 3,000 feet in marginal weather conditions, both aircraft collided and crashed in the sea. Few debris were found floating on water about 60 miles southwest of San Diego and all 27 crew members were missing and never recovered.
Due to lack of evidences, the exact cause of the collision could not be determined with certainty. However, it was reported that both crews were dispatched to perform this mission while they were tired due to a long period of duty. At the time of the accident, weather conditions were marginal as partly cloudy at 2,000 feet over water, local thunderstorm activity and rain showers. Both crews committed negligences while cruising in formation and failed to pay attention to the exact position of the second aircraft. Also, it was reported that the crew of 159325 failed to follow the assigned heading for unknown reasons.