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Crossair Flight 3597
Accident summary
Date 24 November 2001 (2001-11-24)
Type Controlled flight into terrain
Site Bassersdorf, Switzerland
Passengers 28
Crew 5
Injuries 9
Fatalities 24
Survivors 9
Aircraft type Avro RJ100 Regional Jet
Operator Crossair
Tail number HB-IXM

Crossair Flight LX 3597 was an Avro RJ100 regional airliner, registration HB-IXM, on a scheduled flight from Berlin, Germany to Zurich, Switzerland that crashed during its approach to land at Zurich International Airport on November 24, 2001. Twenty-four of the thirty-three people on board were killed.[1]

The flight departed Berlin-Tegel International Airport at 9:01 PM CET, upon arrival in Zurich about an hour later it was cleared to approach runway 28 in poor visibility conditions due to low clouds. At 10:07 PM CET the plane crashed into a wooded range of hills near the small town of Bassersdorf some 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) short of the runway, where it broke apart and went up in flames. Of the 33 people onboard (28 passengers and 5 crew), 24 died (among them the cockpit crew), and nine—seven passengers and two flight attendants—survived. The lead singer of the Eurodance group La Bouche, Melanie Thornton, was one of the dead. The German pop group Passion Fruit was also aboard; two of the singers died, the third singer and manager of the band survived with injuries.[2]

The investigation concluded that the accident was a controlled flight into terrain caused by the captain deliberately descending below the minimum descent altitude (MDA) without having the required visual contact with either the approach lights or the runway;[1] and the copilot making no attempt to prevent the continuation of the flight below the minimum descent altitude. The report revealed that the pilot had failed to perform correct navigation and landing procedures before, but no action had been taken by the airline.[1]

The investigation report states that other factors also contributed to the accident: the range of hills the plane crashed into was not marked in the Jeppesen approach chart used by the crew, despite the hilly terrain the approach to runway 28 was not equipped with a minimum safe altitude warning (MSAW) system, which triggers an alarm if a minimum safe altitude is violated, and the airport's means of determining visibility were inadequate for runway 28 and the visual minimums at the time of the accident were actually inappropriate for using the standard approach to runway 28.[3]

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Coordinates: 47°27′14″N 8°37′34″E / 47.45389°N 8.62611°E / 47.45389; 8.62611



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