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Accident description
Last updated: 21 March 2018
Date:Wednesday 9 December 1936
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-2-115E
Operator:KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Registration: PH-AKL
C/n / msn: 1358/F18
First flight: 1935
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 13
Total:Fatalities: 15 / Occupants: 17
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:London-Croydon Airport (   United Kingdom)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:London-Croydon Airport (-/-), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Amsterdam-Schiphol Municipal Airport (AMS/EHAM), Netherlands
The DC-2, named "Lijster", operated on a KLM passenger service from Croydon to Amsterdam. Visibility at the time of departure was limited due to fog. After running for 600 m along a white guidance line, the aircraft swerved left before becoming airborne at the edge of the airfield. The main undercarriage tore down a fence and wire netting surrounding a tennis court. The DC-2 continued for about 1,500ft (500m) before it struck the roof of one house, ploughed into another semi-detached house and burst into flames.
The stewardess (Hilde Bongertmann) and one passenger (W. Schubach) survived. Juan de la Cierva, the inventor of the Autogyro died.

Probable Cause:

It was determined by the UK Accidents Investigation Branch that the pilot had failed to maintain directional control of the aircraft, and also demonstrated ‘poor judgement’ in not throttling down the engines and abandoning the take-off after it had departed the runway.

Runway excursion

» Early Aviation Disasters / D. Gero, 2011


photo of Douglas DC-2-115E PH-AKL
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This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from London-Croydon Airport to Amsterdam-Schiphol Municipal Airport as the crow flies is 349 km (218 miles).
Accident location: Exact; deduced from official accident report.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Douglas DC-2

  • 200 built
  • 14th loss
  • 8th fatal accident
  • 2nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 5th worst accident (currently)
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 United Kingdom
  • The worst accident (at the time)
  • 36th worst accident (currently)
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