Accident description
Last updated: 27 November 2014
Status:Final
Date:Thursday 1 January 1953
Time:22:22 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-54B-1-DC (DC-4)
Operator:KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Registration: PH-TDL
C/n / msn: 10488
First flight: 1944
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 10
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 56
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 66
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:27,5 km (17.2 mls) from Dharan (   Saudi Arabia)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Roma-Ciampino Airport (CIA/LIRA), Italy
Destination airport:Basra International Airport (BSR/ORMM), Iraq
Narrative:
At 09:05 GMT the aircraft took off from Rome on a flight to Basra, part of a chartered flight from London to Karachi. Shortly before the aircraft arrived at Basra the visibility, which had been very good during the day, deteriorated, falling below the minima laid down by the operator for landings at that aerodrome. It was reported at the same time that the visibility at Baghdad, the alternate, had dropped below the minima for that aerodrome also and the captain decided to divert to Dhahran. However, the aircraft ran out of fuel before that airport could be reached, and, at 22:22 GMT, the pilot was compelled to make a forced landing in the desert approximately 17 miles from the airport. A full moon provided good visibility and the emergency wheels up landing was successful.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The unanimous findings of the Board of Inquiry were as follows: 1) The Company in training pilots-in-command and flight engineers, should make such personnel more fully acquainted with the possible misleading effects of instruments and should ensure that they realize that the error involved can be such as to have a bearing on the safety of operations. 2) More reliable fuel level gauges should be developed, particularly as regards the readings given when the fuel in the tanks is very low. The pilot-in- command was compelled to extend the flight to a more remote aerodrome, at a greater distance than the aerodrome of destination or the designated alternate. Towards the end of this long flight, he over-estimated the amount of fuel still available. During the last part of the flight, owing to this inaccurate judgement, he took a series of unwise decisions which resulted either in unnecessary consumption of fuel or failure to avail himself of possibilities of making a landing. It is noted that the pilot-in-command was reprimanded by the management of the Company for his lack of caution and, in addition, was allowed to fly only in the capacity of second pilot for some time after the accident."
Taking all the foregoing into consideration, the Board approved the action. of the Company in reprimanding the pilot-in-command in view of the serious failings on his part which are described above.

Classification:
Low visibility

Fuel starvation
Forced landing outside airport

Sources:
» ICAO Circular 39-AN/34 (#18)


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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 Roma-Ciampino Airport to Basra International Airport as the crow flies is 3335 km (2085 miles).

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