Accident description
Last updated: 26 October 2014
Status:
Date:Thursday 4 April 1974
Time:02:35
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas DC-4
Operator:Wenela Air Services
Registration: A2-ZER
C/n / msn: 27242
First flight: 1944
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 75 / Occupants: 80
Total:Fatalities: 78 / Occupants: 84
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:near Francistown (   Botswana) show on map
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Francistown Airport (FRW/FBFT), Botswana
Destination airport:Blantyre-Chileka Airport (BLZ/FWCL), Malawi
Narrative:
The DC-4 took off from Francistown runway 11 at 02:32. The engine temperatures started to rise, even after opening the gills. When temperatures exceeded the limit, the engines started backfiring. A left hand circuit was made to return to the airport, but the aircraft kept descending and crash-landed 3600m short of the runway. The aircraft struck some trees and burst into flames.

PROBABLE CAUSE: Powerloss on all 4 engines due to fuel contamination. A load of Jet A1 (Avtur) fuel had been unloaded in one of the Aviation gasoline (Avgas) tanks, causing a contamination of 25-30%.

Classification:
Fuel contamination

Sources:


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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 Francistown Airport to Blantyre-Chileka Airport as the crow flies is 995 km (622 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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Douglas DC-4

  • 301st loss
  • 1242+ built
  • 3rd worst accident
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 Botswana
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