Accident Douglas C-54A-DO (DC-4) N79998, Monday 15 August 1949
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Date:Monday 15 August 1949
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC4 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Douglas C-54A-DO (DC-4)
Owner/operator:Transocean Air Lines
Registration: N79998
MSN: 3076
Year of manufacture:1943
Engine model:Pratt & Whitney R-2000
Fatalities:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 58
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed, written off
Location:13 km NW off Lurga Point -   Ireland
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Roma-Ciampino Airport (CIA/LIRA)
Destination airport:Shannon Airport (SNN/EINN)
Investigating agency: CAB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The Transocean Air Lines DC-4 departed from Rome, Italy, at 16:08, August 14, 1949 and proceeded towards Marseille, France, at an altitude of 8,500 feet, then direct to Shannon, Ireland. Except for the fact that the number 3 engine operated roughly when the mixture was in auto lean, the flight progressed without incident. At approximately 23:00, the flight descended to 3,500 feet, which was above a layer of stratus clouds. The original ETA (estimated time of arrival) of 00:21 over Shannon was revised several times en route, but all such times passed without the flight observing the Shannon Airport. Actually, although unknown to the crew, at 23:00 the aircraft had been flown beyond Shannon and was over the North Atlantic. It was not until 00:50 or later that a turn was made for the return course to Shannon. At 01:06 the flight alerted Air-Sea Rescue facilities at Shannon and gave its position as 100 miles west of Shannon, flying inbound on a track of 80 degrees. The ground speed was estimated to be 140 knots. The flight continued toward Shannon until 02:40 when all fuel was exhausted, and at which time the aircraft was ditched, seven miles northwest of Lurga Point on the Irish Coast. The aircraft remained afloat for about 15 minutes, during which time the crew and the passengers removed and manned all but one of the life rafts. Aircraft circling over the life rafts were able to direct the British trawler "Stalberg" to the scene. Seven passengers and one crew member died as a result of exposure or drowning, all others were successfully rescued.
One of the surviving passengers was female American aviation pioneer and record holder Ruth Nichols.

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The failure of the captain to exercise the proper supervision over his crew during flight planning and while en route."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAB
Report number: final report
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


The Miracle on Galway Bay (1949)
CAB File No: 1-0086


  • 71st worst accident in 1949
  • 101st worst accident of this aircraft type
  • 30th worst accident of this aircraft type at the time



photo (c) John Bessey; August 1949

Revision history:


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