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Aviation Disasters and Near-Disasters
January 3 An Indian Airlines Douglas C-47A cargo plane crashed while dropping supplies and making a narrow turn in a valley near Taksing, India, killing all 9 persons aboard. The accident was attributed to an error in navigation which caused the pilot to enter the wrong valley. During an attempt to turn back in a restricted area, the aircraft stalled and crashed.
January 4 A U.S. Army de Havilland Canada U-1A Otter with 10 persons aboard disappeared over the Gulf of Sirte, Libya. The Otter was flying from Wheelus Air Base to Benghazi, Libya, with two en-route stops, returning surveyors to field locations.
January 6 No one was killed when a U.S. Navy Douglas R4D-8 crashed while attempting to land at Byrd Station, Antarctica, during "whiteout" conditions.
January 7 The landing gear of a British European Airways Vickers 802 Viscount collapsed after it landed in foggy conditions at Heathrow Airport in London, England. The plane skidded about 500 yards down the runway before coming to rest. A fire erupted in the nose section of the plane and almost destroyed the entire fuselage. None of the plane's 5 crew members or 54 passengers were killed.
January 19 A Scandinavian Airlines Caravelle crashed into a hilltop while on a landing approach to Ankara-Esenboga Airport (Turkey), killing all 41 persons aboard.
January 19 A U.S. Navy plane crashed on Karanfil Dag, near Adana, Turkey, killing 16 persons.
January 20 An Italian Air Force Douglas C-47 with 5 persons aboard disappeared over the Sea of Largo di Brindisi, off Italy. The wreckage was later discovered in the sea.
January 21 An Avianca (Colombian) Lockheed Super Constellation crashed and burned upon landing at Montego Bay, Jamaica, killing all 37 persons aboard.
January 26 A Timor Airlines de Havilland DH-114 with 9 persons aboard disappeared over the ocean off Bathurst Island, Australia.
February 3 A U.S. Air Force Stratotanker crashed while taking off from Roswell Air Force Base, New Mexico, in extremely gusty crosswind conditions. The airplane skidded into two parked Stratotankers and a hangar and burst into flames. All 6 persons on the Stratotanker were killed, as were 2 persons on the ground.
February 5 A Bolivian Airlines Douglas DC-4 crashed into Laguna de Huana-Costa about fifteen minutes after taking off from Cochabama, Bolivia, killing all 59 persons aboard (a 2-year-old girl survived the impact but died en route to the hospital).
February 25 A U.S. Navy Douglas DC-6 collided with a Brazilian Airlines Douglas DC-3 over the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, airport. The DC-3 crashed into the bay just southeast of Sugar Loaf Mountain; the DC-6 crashed into the bay just north of the mountain. All 35 persons on the DC-3 were killed, as were 26 of the 38 aboard the DC-6 (19 of whom were members of the U.S. Navy Band). [more information]
February 26 An Aeroflot (Soviet) Antonov 10A crashed while approaching Lvov-Snilow Airport in the Ukraine. All but 1 of the 33 persons aboard were killed.
March 14 A British Overseas Airways Corporaton de Havilland DH-106 Comet 4 hit a ridge while on approach to the Madrid-Barajas (Spain) Airport. The pilot was able to land the plane without the loss of any lives despite damage to both main landing gears and a wing.
March 16 An All Nippon Airways (Japanese) Douglas DC-3 was struck by a Japan Air Self Defence Force F-86D Sabre Fighter while taxiing toward the terminal at Nagoya-Komaki International Airport (Japan). Three persons aboard the DC-3 were killed. The Sabre crashed and burned but the pilot survived.
March 19 A Sociedad Aeronautica Medellin (Colombian) Curtiss Commando crashed about 7 miles northwest of Planeta Rica, Colombia, while the pilot was attempting an emergency landing due to engine failure, killing 25 of the 46 persons aboard.
April 12 A Douglas DC-3 collided with two other aircraft while attempting to take off from Pelotas-Federal Airport (Brazil), killing 10 of the 22 persons aboard; there were no fatalities on the other aircraft.
April 14 A Douglas DC-4 operated by the Royal Thai Air Force flew into the side of Wuzhi Mountain near Taipei, Taiwan. All 18 on board were killed. Among the passengers was the RTAF chief and other officials.
April 18 A U.S. Air Force Douglas Globemaster transport plane crashed into a hill soon after taking off from Stephenville-Ernest Harmon Air Force Base, Newfoundland, in heavy fog. All 9 persons aboard were killed.
April 19 A Colombian Airlines Curtiss Commando crashed while landing at BogotŠ-Eldorado Airport (Colombia), killing 37 of the 51 persons aboard.
April 22 A Sobelair (Belgian) Douglas DC-4 crashed on approach to Bunia Airport (Western Congo), killing all 35 persons aboard.
April 28 A Venezuelan Airlines Douglas DC-3 exploded while on approach to Caracas (Venezuela) Airport, killing all 13 persons aboard. It was later determined that the explosion was caused by a hand grenade brought aboard by a Russian immigrant. The grenade detonated in the cockpit while the pilot was attempting to disarm the man.
May 15 A Balair (Swiss) Douglas DC-4 crashed into a mountain near El Fasher, Sudan, killing all 12 persons aboard.
May 17 A Transamerican Air Transport (Argentinian) Curtiss Commando with 8 persons and 7 race horses aboard disappeared while on a flight from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Santiago, Chile. [The wreckage of the aircraft was found on November 21, 1961 by an inhabitant of the El Sosneado, Argentina, area.]
June 10 An Aeroflot Ilyushin 14P crashed into Mount Rech near Tkvarcheli, Georgia, killing all 31 persons aboard.
June 10 A Trans Australia Airlines Fokker F-27 crashed into the sea while on approach to Mackay (Queensland, Australia) Airport. All 29 persons aboard, including U.S. Consul John O'Grady and a number of school students returning home for holiday, were killed. [Investigators were never able to determine an exact cause of the accident. That inability to find a cause prompted the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to require all civil aircraft to be equipped with "black boxes."]
June 14 A Pacific Northern Airlines Lockheed Constellation crashed near the peak of 9,616-foot Mount Gilbert in Alaska, killing all 14 persons aboard. [more information]
June 24 A Brazilian Airlines Convair carrying 51 persons crashed into Guanabara Bay while on approach to Rio de Janeiro-Gale„o International Airport (Brazil). No survivors were found.
July 10 A Gulf Aviation Douglas DC-3 with 16 persons aboard disappeared while on a flight from Bahrain to Sharjah.
July 11 A U.S. Air Force Douglas DC-3 carrying 18 persons crashed into Mount Pichincha while on approach to Quito, Ecuador. There were no survivors.
July 14 A Northwest Orient Airlines Douglas DC-7C en route from Okinawa, Japan, to Manila, Philippines, experienced engine failure, which led to propellor failure and fuselage damage. The crew was forced to ditch the plane into the sea about five miles northeast of Portillo Island, Philippines. Only 1 of the plane's 51 passengers was killed; none of the 7 crew members were killed. [more information]
July 14 Bad weather at Zamboanga, Philippines, forced the crew of a Philippine Air Lines Douglas DC-3 to divert to Cebu. Fuel exhaustion then forced the crew to ditch their plane in shallow water, 40 yards off the Mindanao shore. All 3 crew members and 31 passengers survived.
July 17 A Danish de Havilland Dragon Rapide carrying 8 members of the Danish Olympic soccer team crashed into the ōresund Strait soon after taking off from Copenhagen. The plane's pilot survived but all 8 players were killed.
July 20 A Belgian Army transport plane crashed near Lake Kivu, Republic of Congo. Only 4 of the 43 persons aboard survived.
July 20 An Aeroflot Ilyushin 14M encountered heavy turbulence in a thunderstorm and broke up in mid-air over Russia, killing all 23 persons aboard.
July 22 A German military plane on a weather observation mission crashed into a power station chimney at Vockerode, Germany. All 6 members of the crew were killed, as was 1 power station worker.
July 31 A Convair operated by a German charter plane service experienced engine trouble while approaching Rimini (Italy) Airport and was forced to land short of the runway. All but 1 of the plane's 30 passengers survived, as did all 4 members of the crew.
August 1 A Bolivian military Douglas DC-3 crashed into the Hayti Mountain while on a flight to Tipuani, Bolivia, killing all 6 persons aboard.
August 17 An Aeroflot Ilyushin 18B flying from Cairo, Egypt, to Moscow, Russia, caught fire in mid-air and crashed near Kiev, Russia, killing all 34 persons aboard, including members of the first Algerian diplomatic mission to Communist China.
August 18 A French naval bomber caught fire and exploded in flight near Casablanca, Morocco, killing all 27 persons aboard.
August 22 A British Overseas Airways Corporation de Havilland DH-106 Comet 4 had begun a take-off run on a section of Cairo (Egypt) International Airport declared closed because of work in progress. At a speed of about 50 knots the port main wheels entered an excavated hole and their axles and wheels became detached. The take-off was abandoned. All 8 crew members and 52 passengers escaped safely.
August 24 A Qantas (Australian) Lockheed Super Constellation lost power in one engine during a take-off attempt at Mauritius-Plaisance International Airport (Mauritius). The crew aborted the take-off but was unable to keep the plane from going off the end of the runway. The airplane bounced over a low embankment, crashed into a gully and caught fire. All 50 persons aboard survived.
August 29 An Air France Lockheed Super Constellation crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Dakar, Senegal, while attempting to land in bad weather. All 63 persons aboard were killed.
September 2 An Aeroflot Ilyushin 14 carrying Soviet polar researchers from Mys Schmidta back to Moscowflew into the side of Mount Belaya, near Zikhnovo, Russia. All 18 persons aboard were killed.
September 3 An engine on a Trek Airways (South African) Douglas DC-4 caught fire in flight, forcing the crew to carry out an emergency belly landing in a sandy valley near El Badary, Egypt. The fire spread and the aircraft was consumed, but all 67 persons aboard survived.
September 7 An Argentina Airways Douglas DC-6 was on a flight from Asuncion to Buenos Aires when the plane suddenly crashed in a field near Salto, Uruguay, killing all 31 persons aboard.
September 8 A U.S. Air Force weather reconnaissance plane crashed into the side of a mountain near Tokyo, Japan. Ten crewmen were killed; 1 was missing and presumed dead.
September 14 The landing gear of an American Airlines Lockheed Electra struck a dyke while approaching La Guardia Airport (New York, New York). All 76 persons aboard survived.
September 17 The nose gear of a British European Airways Vickers 802 Viscount collapsed after the plane touched down at Jersey-States Airport in the Channel Islands. The aircraft traveled about 400 yards down the runway with its nose on the ground before coming to a stop. All 74 persons aboard survived.
September 19 A World Airways Douglas DC-6A/B carrying U.S. military personnel and their dependents exploded and crashed into Mount Barrigada on the island of Guam soon after taking off, killing 77 of the 94 persons aboard; 3 persons later died of their injuries.
September 22 A U.S. Marine Corps Douglas DC-4 flying from Japan to the Philippines went down in the Pacific Ocean about 180 miles southeast of Okinawa after transmitting a message that an engine was on fire and they were diverting to Okinawa. The fire in the engine was extinguished but a residual fire continued in a tire until it ignited the fuel tank resulting in an explosion. All 29 Marines aboard were killed.
September 26 An Austrian Airlines Vickers 837 Viscount crashed while on a landing approach to Moska-Sheremetyevo Airport (Moscow, Russia), killing 31 of the 37 persons aboard.
September 28 A Mexican Airlines Douglas DC-3 crashed into a mountain near Juchitepec, Mexico, in dense fog, killing 8 of the 18 persons aboard.
September 29 A United Arab Airlines (Egyptian) Vickers 739B Viscount with 21 persons aboard crashed into the Tyrrhenian Sea off Elba, Italy; little wreckage was found.
October 1 An Eastern Air Lines Martin 4-0-4 with 27 persons aboard struck a Beechcraft 35 Bonanza while landing at Orlando International Airport (Florida). The Martin was able to land safely, but the Beechcraft crashed and its pilot was killed.
October 9 A Falcon Airways (British) Hermes IV slid off the end of the runway after landing at Southend Municipal Airport (England), struck an earth bank adjacent to the airport, and came to rest on an adjoining railroad track. All 76 of the persons aboard survived.
October 14 An Itavia (Italian) de Havilland DH-114 Heron 2 crashed into the slopes of Mount Capanne, Italy, while on a flight to Genoa, killing all 11 persons aboard.
October 20 An Aeroflot Tupolev 104A crashed while attempting to land at Ust-Orda, Russia, during bad weather. Three of the plane's 7 crew members were killed, but all 61 passengers survived.
October 28 A Northwest Orient Airlines Douglas DC-4 crashed about 20 miles west of Missoula, Montana, killing all 12 persons aboard. [more information]
October 29 An Arctic Pacific Curtiss Commando carrying members of the California State Polytechnic College football team crashed soon after taking off from Toledo-Express Airport (Ohio), killing 22 of the 48 persons aboard. [more information]
October 29 A South African Airways Boeing 707-344 struck the ground while on the final approach to Nairobi-Embakasi Airport (Kenya) at night. The nose landing gear sustained damage but the crew were able to become airborne again. It was decided to circle the airport and perform a wheels-up landing. The aircraft touched down approximately half way along the runway and came to rest about 21 feet from the end of the stopway. All 91 of the passengers and crew escaped without injury.
November 7 An AREA Ecuador Fairchild F-27A crashed into a mountain while on approach to Quito, Ecuador, killing all 27 persons aboard.
November 8 An Iberia (Spanish) Lockheed Super Constellation was on final approach to Barcelona, Spain, when the left main gear leg struck a small heap of rubbish just beyond the runway threshold. The wheels were torn off and the aircraft continued along the runway before swerving to the left off the runway and catching fire. All 71 of the persons aboard survived.
November 11 A British Overseas Airways Corporation Britannia 102 was preparing to land at Khartoum Civil Airport (Sudan) when it was discovered that a loss of hydraulic fluid was preventing the full engagement of landing gear. The plane landed on a strip alongside the runway with the nose wheel up and the main landing gears trailing. All 27 of the persons aboard survived.
November 17 A Beechcraft 35 struck a United Air Lines Douglas DC-6 while both were on approach to Denver Stapleton International Airport (Colorado). Both planes were able to land safely and neither the Beechcraft pilot nor any of the 19 persons aboard the DC-6 were injured.
November 23 A Philippine Air Lines Douglas DC-3C with 33 persons aboard disappeared while en route to Manila, Philippines. The plane's wreckage was found on the eastern slope of Mount Baco at 6,000 feet, 32 miles west of the airport, on November 30. There were no survivors.
December 4 An Aeroflot Ilyushin 14M crashed near Chernovo, Russia, killing all 14 persons aboard.
December 17 A U.S. Air Force Convair C-131D crashed into a Munich, Germany, street soon after taking off from MŁnchen-Riem Airport. All 20 persons aboard were killed, as were 32 persons on the ground.
December 22 A Philippine Air Lines Douglas DC-3C crashed soon after taking off from Cebu-Lahug Airport (Philippines), killing 28 of the 37 persons aboard.
December 24 A British Overseas Airways Corporation Boeing 707-436 ran off the end of the runway at London-Heathrow Airport (England). The main landing gear units collapsed and the aircraft was extensively damaged, but none of the 106 persons aboard were injured.
December 26 An Aeroflot Ilyushin 18A crashed into a field while on approach to Ulyanovsk Airport (Russia), killing all 17 persons aboard.
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