ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-54A-DO (DC-4) N79998 Lurga Point
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Monday 15 August 1949
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-54A-DO (DC-4)
Operator:Transocean Air Lines
Registration: N79998
MSN: 3076
First flight: 1943
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney R-2000
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 9
Passengers:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 49
Total:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 58
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:13 km (8.1 mls) NW off Lurga Point (   Ireland)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Roma-Ciampino Airport (CIA/LIRA), Italy
Destination airport:Shannon Airport (SNN/EINN), Ireland
The Transocean Air Lines DC-4 departed from Rome, Italy, at 16:08, August 14, 1949 and proceeded towards Marseille, France, at an altitude of 8,500 feet, then direct to Shannon, Ireland. Except for the fact that the number 3 engine operated roughly when the mixture was in auto lean, the flight progressed without incident. At approximately 23:00, the flight descended to 3,500 feet, which was above a layer of stratus clouds. The original ETA (estimated time of arrival) of 00:21 over Shannon was revised several times en route, but all such times passed without the flight observing the Shannon Airport. Actually, although unknown to the crew, at 23:00 the aircraft had been flown beyond Shannon and was over the North Atlantic. It was not until 00:50 or later that a turn was made for the return course to Shannon. At 01:06 the flight alerted Air-Sea Rescue facilities at Shannon and gave its position as 100 miles west of Shannon, flying inbound on a track of 80 degrees. The ground speed was estimated to be 140 knots. The flight continued toward Shannon until 02:40 when all fuel was exhausted, and at which time the aircraft was ditched, seven miles northwest of Lurga Point on the Irish Coast. The aircraft remained afloat for about 15 minutes, during which time the crew and the passengers removed and manned all but one of the life rafts. Aircraft circling over the life rafts were able to direct the British trawler "Stalberg" to the scene. Seven passengers and one crew member died as a result of exposure or drowning, all others were successfully rescued.
One of the surviving passengers was female American aviation pioneer and record holder Ruth Nichols.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of the captain to exercise the proper supervision over his crew during flight planning and while en route."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: CAB
Status: Investigation completed
Accident number: final report
Download report: Final report

Fuel exhaustion

» The Miracle on Galway Bay (1949)
» CAB File No: 1-0086


photo of Douglas-C-54A-DO-N79998
accident date: 15-08-1949
type: Douglas C-54A-DO (DC-4)
registration: N79998

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 Roma-Ciampino Airport to Shannon Airport as the crow flies is 2000 km (1250 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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