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Last updated: 19 November 2018
Status:
Date:Sunday 1 August 1948
Time:ca 01:30 UTC
Type:Latécoère 631
Operator:Air France
Registration: F-BDRC
C/n / msn: 6
First flight: 1947-11-09 (9 months)
Total airframe hrs:35
Engines: 6 Wright R-2600-A5B Cyclone
Crew:Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12
Passengers:Fatalities: 40 / Occupants: 40
Total:Fatalities: 52 / Occupants: 52
Aircraft damage: Missing
Aircraft fate: Presumed damaged beyond repair
Location:c 1900 km W off Dakar, Senegal (   Atlantic Ocean)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Fort de France Hydrobase, Martinique
Destination airport:Port-Étienne Airport (NDB/GQPP), Mauritania
Flightnumber:AF072
Narrative:
The Latécoère 631 flying boat, named "Lionel de Marnier", operated on a round trip service from Biscarrosse, France to Fort de France, Martinique, with a refueling stop at Port-Etienne, Mauritania.
At 15:05 the aircraft took off on the first leg of the return flight. The cruising altitude was 3000 meters in instrument weather conditions. Planned flying time from Fort de France to Port-Étienne was 16 hours and 15 minutes.
Hourly position reports were made until 00:11 UTC when it reported passing 1927N, 3825W. No contact was established with the flight and the aircraft failed to arrive.
A search mission was commenced using a submarine, three ships, a Lockheed Constellation, a Latécoère 631, three B-17's and seven B-29's. On August 6 a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, USCGC Campbell, reported finding two aircraft seats at 18°17N, 17°00W. The Campell and another ship collected several other smaller pieces of debris before the search was called off on August 8.

The aircraft crashed into the Atlantic Ocean some 1900 km west off Dakar, Senegal.

Probable Cause:

Conclusions: "The members of the committee are unanimous in attributing the accident to a serious and sudden event whose origin could not be verified with certainty."

Sources:
» Air-Britain Casualty Compendium Part 47
» La courte vie du F-BDRC / P.Parpaite


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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 Fort de France Hydrobase to Port-Étienne Airport as the crow flies is 4675 km (2922 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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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Latécoère 631

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 Atlantic Ocean
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