Accident description
Last updated: 30 September 2014
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 3 October 1946
Time:05:03
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-54E-5-DO (DC-4)
Operator:American Overseas Airlines
Registration: NC90904
C/n / msn: 27290
First flight: 1945
Total airframe hrs:3731
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-2000-9
Crew:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 8
Passengers:Fatalities: 31 / Occupants: 31
Total:Fatalities: 39 / Occupants: 39
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:11,4 km (7.1 mls) NE of Stephenville-Harmon AAB, NF (YJT) (   Canada) show on map
Crash site elevation: 354 m (1161 feet) amsl
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Stephenville AAB, NF (YJT/CYJT), Canada
Destination airport:Shannon Airport (SNN/EINN), Ireland
Narrative:
The DC-4, named "Flagship New England", departed New York-LaGuardia (LGA) at 12:14 on October 2, 1946 bound for Shannon (SNN), Ireland and Berlin, Germany. Prior to crossing the Atlantic, an intermediate stop was planned at Gander. Poor visibility at Gander forced the crew to land at their alternate, Stephenville-Harmon Field. The DC-4 arrived there at 16:30. In order to provide the necessary crew rest, a 12-hour stopover was made with a scheduled departure at 04:45. The flight was cleared to taxi to runway 30 for departure. As the wind appeared to be from 90 degrees at 9kts, the tower operator advised the crew to taxi to runway 07 instead. At the time of the take-off the ceiling was reported 5,000 feet, overcast; visibility 10 miles. Neither moon nor stars were visible through the overcast as the flight took off towards unlit terrain. It was general practice for flights using runway 07 to turn right immediately after takeoff to avoid rising terrain. After takeoff the DC-4 continued in a straight line and collided with a steep ridge at an elevation of 1160 feet, 7,1 miles past the runway.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The action of the pilot in maintaining the direction of take-off toward higher terrain over which adequate clearance could not be gained."

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» Air Britain Casualty compendium (pt. 44)
» CAB


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Map
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 Stephenville AAB, NF to Shannon Airport as the crow flies is 3436 km (2147 miles).

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Douglas DC-4

  • 53rd loss
  • 1242+ built
  • 2nd worst accident (at the time)
  • 31st worst accident (currently)
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 Canada
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  • 10th worst accident (currently)
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