Accident description
Last updated: 31 October 2014
Status:
Date:Monday 26 May 1952
Type:Handley Page HP.81 Hermes IV
Operator:British Overseas Airways Corporation - BOAC
Registration: G-ALDN
C/n / msn: HP.81/15
First flight: 1950
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 8
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 10
Total:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 18
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:114 km (71.3 mls) SSE of Atar (   Mauritania) show on map
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Tripoli International Airport (TIP/HLLT), Libya
Destination airport:Kano International Airport (KAN/DNKN), Nigeria
Narrative:
The Hermes was on a flight to Kano when the crew lost its way over the desert area. Close to fuel exhaustion, a forced wheels-up landing was carried out in the desert. The left wing broke off during the ground slide. The first officer died 5 days later due to exhaustion, brought about by strain and heat.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "1) Faulty use by the navigator of the variation setting control on the CL2 Gyrosyn compass. 2) Faulty checking of compasses by incorrect astral bearing and without the aid of radio bearing. 3) Incorrect inference drawn by the captain in pronouncing the CL2 Gyrosyn compass correct and the P.12 magnetic compass unserviceable. 4) Fault on the part of the captain in not returning to Tripoli when the P.12 compass was regarded as unserviceable (in breach of BOAC regulations). 5) Inability of the crew to realize that astro shots were being taken on the wrong stars. 6) Inability of the crew to determine the aircraft's position properly by the standard methods when the VSC setting error was discovered. 7) Lack of decisive action on the part of the captain once he knew he had lost his way. 8) Ignorance on the part of those on board, of the assistance which could have been afforded by Atar airfield."

Classification:
Fuel starvation
Forced landing outside airport

Sources:
» ICAO Circular 38-AN/33 (79-85)


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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 Tripoli International Airport to Kano International Airport as the crow flies is 2325 km (1453 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Networkĺs 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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