Accident description
Last updated: 1 August 2014
Status:Final
Date:Saturday 3 February 1951
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-4-1009
Operator:Air France
Registration: F-BBDO
C/n / msn: 42992
First flight: 1946
Crew:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 23 / Occupants: 23
Total:Fatalities: 29 / Occupants: 29
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:12 km (7.5 mls) N of Buéa (   Cameroon) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Douala Airport (DLA/FKKD), Cameroon
Destination airport:Niamey Airport (NIM/DRRN), Niger
Narrative:
The Air France DC-4, named "Ciel de Savoie", landed at Douala at 12:00 and after refueling took off at 14:08 on the leg to Niamey, Niger. This leg was part of the Air France service between Brazzaville, Congo and Paris. The flight plan indicated that the pilot intended to take the southern route to Niamey, avoiding higher terrain, with an en route altitude of 8500 feet. Some four minutes after takeoff the flight made a sharp climbing turn heading NNW, on a straight course to Niamey over the British Cameroon mountains. The plane possibly drifted towards higher terrain until it was heading for Cameroon Mountain (elevation: 13,354 feet). The crew were facing the sun. Seen through the mist the mountain was probably only partially or faintly visible. They probably saw the mountain until it was too late to climb over it. The pilot immediately made a sharp left turn but the plane hit the steeply rising terrain with the left wing. The aircraft then impacted the mountain at an altitude of about 8500 feet.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "On their own initiative the crew abandoned the current procedure and followed a different and inaccurate procedure. The navigation was not sufficiently accurate and the draft was not checked. Error of judgement and over-confidence when flying over mountain mass. "

Classification:
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain

Sources:
» ICAO Circular 31 (p.28-31)


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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 Douala Airport to Niamey Airport as the crow flies is 1333 km (833 miles).

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Douglas DC-4

  • 145th loss
  • 1242+ built
  • 23rd worst accident (at the time)
  • 46th worst accident (currently)
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 Cameroon
  • worst accident (at the time)
  • 5th worst accident (currently)
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