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Accident description
Last updated: 14 December 2017
Status:Final
Date:Sunday 4 March 1962
Time:18:21
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC7 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-7C
Operating for:Caledonian Airways
Leased from:Sabena
Registration: G-ARUD
C/n / msn: 45160/754
First flight: 1957
Crew:Fatalities: 10 / Occupants: 10
Passengers:Fatalities: 101 / Occupants: 101
Total:Fatalities: 111 / Occupants: 111
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:2,5 km (1.6 mls) E of Douala Airport (DLA) (   Cameroon)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Douala Airport (DLA/FKKD), Cameroon
Destination airport:Lisboa-Portela de Sacavém Airport (LIS/LPPT), Portugal
Flightnumber: 153
Narrative:
The heavily-laden DC-7 was making a night takeoff from Douala runway 12 in conditions of high ambient temperature and humidity. After a long takeoff from the 9350 feet long runway, it gained little height. Some 2300yds from the runway end, 500yds left of the extended centreline, the left wing struck trees 72 feet above aerodrome elevation. The DC-7, named "Star of Robbie Burns", crashed into a tidal swamp and exploded on impact.

The flight, a special charter flight on behalf of Trans Africa Air Coach of London, had departed Luxembourg (LUX) on March 1, 1962, arriving in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique on March 2.The flight left again on March 4, bound for Douala (DLA), Cameroon, Lisbon (LIS), Portugal and Luxembourg.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "In spite of the very numerous expert examinations and all the tests on the ground and in flight which the Commission of Inquiry has carried out or caused to be carried out, the state of the wreckage and its position in an inundated forest area have prevented the Commission from determining with absolute certainty the cause of the accident to DC-7C G-ARUD. The commission considers, however, that there is evidence to show that an elevator spring-tab mechanism may have jammed before impact. This jamming would have resulted in abnormal elevator control forces during the takeoff. Flight tests have shown this to be consistent with a prolonged takeoff run and a risk of losing height during flap retraction. Furthermore, the following features, all adverse, may have aggravated the circumstances in which the accident occurred: - the implementation of a procedure for gaining speed which was conducive to the aircraft being flown at a low altitude - the fact that a positive rate of climb was not maintained at the time of flap retraction which, in the SABENA procedure applied by Caledonian Airways, is not subject to any altitude limitation other than that of obstacle clearance - the presence in the co-pilot's seat of a check pilot whose attention may have been attracted more by the actions of the first pilot than by the indications on his own instrument panel. The Commission had been unable to eliminate an instrument failure as a possible cause of the accident, as the instruments were not recovered or were too seriously damaged to allow of any valid expert examination."

Sources:
» ICAO Accident Digest No.14 Volume II, Circular 71-AN/63 (36-45)


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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 Lisboa-Portela de Sacavém Airport as the crow flies is 4290 km (2681 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

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Douglas DC-7

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  • 20th loss
  • 11th fatal accident
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 Cameroon
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