Accident Lockheed L-1049C-55-81 Super Constellation PH-LKT, Tuesday 16 July 1957
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Date:Tuesday 16 July 1957
Type:Silhouette image of generic CONI model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Lockheed L-1049C-55-81 Super Constellation
Owner/operator:KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Registration: PH-LKT
MSN: 4504
Year of manufacture:1953
Total airframe hrs:11867 hours
Engine model:Wright R-3350 (972TC18DA3)
Fatalities:Fatalities: 58 / Occupants: 68
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:1,2 km off Biak-Mokmer Airport (BIK) -   Indonesia
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Biak-Mokmer Airport (BIK/WABB)
Destination airport:Manila International Airport (MNL/RPLL)
Investigating agency: RvdL
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
KLM flight KL844, a Lockheed L-1049C Super Constellation, named "Neutron", was destroyed when it impacted the water off Biak Airport, Netherlands New Guinea (now Indonesia).
KL844 was the return leg of a weekly return flight between Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Biak. The first leg of the flight was from Biak to Manila, Philippines.
The aircraft took off from Biak-Mokmer Airport's runway 10 at 03:32 at night. Shortly after takeoff, the flight crew radioed the tower controller, asking to keep the runway lights on and to requested permission for a low run over the airfield. Both requests were granted. The aircraft was in a 180 degree left hand turn when it gradually lost altitude until it struck the sea and broke apart. The wreckage sank in 250 m of water.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The explanation of the accident lies either in an error on the part of the pilot or in a technical failure. The Board was unable to state whether the accident could have been caused by a combination of both pilot error and technical failure. The Board was of the opinion that low runs should not be made by aircraft on scheduled services. The magnitude of the danger that is inherent in the proximity of the ground on takeoff and landing should not be increased unnecessarily by flying at low altitude."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: RvdL
Report number: Final report
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 7 months
Download report: Final report


ICAO Accident Digest No.9, Circular 56-AN/51 (141-145)
Nederlandse Constallations / H.Dekker
Vrij Nederland 13.02.1999 (p.18-19)


  • 4th worst accident in 1957
  • 9th worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 3rd worst accident of this aircraft type at the time



photo (c) Raad voor de Luchtvaart; off Biak-Mokmer Airport (BIK); 16 July 1957

Revision history:


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