Date: October 24, 2004
Time: 0030
Location: San Diego, California
Operator: Med Flight Air Ambulance - Private
Flight #: ?
Route: San Diego, CA - Albuquerque, NM
AC Type: Learjet 35A
Registration: N30DK
cn / ln: 35A-345
Aboard: 5   (passengers:4  crew:1)
Fatalities: 5   (passengers:4  crew:1)
Ground: 0
Summary: Two minutes after taking off, the air ambulance crashed into Otay peak, in an isolated area of mountains, 8 miles east of Brown Field Municipal Airport. Dark night visual conditions prevailed. The controller's Minimum Safe Altitude Warning System issued and alert during the last two radar returns. The air traffic controller failed to alert the crew to altitude warnings as the plane was on track to fly into a mountain. The controller identified the airplane on the radar screen and instructed crew members to expect clearance above 5,000 feet, but then issued a heading that resulted in a flight track directly into the mountains. The mountain is at 3,556 feet altitude. Also, the flight crew did not follow the recommended departure procedures for taking off at night and in mountainous terrain. Failure of the flightcrew to maintain terrain clearance during a VFR departure, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain, and the air traffic controller's issuance of a clearance that transferred the responsibility for terrain clearance from the fllightcrew to the controller. The controller's failure to provide terrain clearance instructions to the flightcrew, and failure to advise the flightcrew of minimum safe altitude warning alerts. Contributing to the accident was the pilots' fatigue which likely contributed to their degraded decision making.

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