Accident Latécoère 631 F-BDRC, Sunday 1 August 1948
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Date:Sunday 1 August 1948
Time:01:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic l631 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Latécoère 631
Owner/operator:Air France
Registration: F-BDRC
MSN: 6
Year of manufacture:1947
Total airframe hrs:35 hours
Engine model:Wright R-2600-A5B Cyclone
Fatalities:Fatalities: 52 / Occupants: 52
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Aircraft missing, written off
Category:Accident
Location:c 1900 km W off Dakar, Senegal -   Atlantic Ocean
Phase: En route
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Fort de France Hydrobase
Destination airport:Port-Étienne Airport (NDB/GQPP)
Narrative:
The Latécoère 631 flying boat, named "Lionel de Marnier", operated on a round trip service from Biscarrosse, France to Fort de France, Martinique, with a refueling stop at Port-Etienne, Mauritania.
At 15:05 the aircraft took off on the first leg of the return flight. The cruising altitude was 3000 meters in instrument weather conditions. Planned flying time from Fort de France to Port-Étienne was 16 hours and 15 minutes.
Hourly position reports were made until 00:11 UTC when it reported passing 1927N, 3825W. No contact was established with the flight and the aircraft failed to arrive.
A search mission was commenced using a submarine, three ships, a Lockheed Constellation, a Latécoère 631, three B-17's and seven B-29's. On August 6 a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, USCGC Campbell, reported finding two aircraft seats at 18°17N, 17°00W. The Campbell and another ship collected several other smaller pieces of debris before the search was called off on August 8.

The aircraft crashed into the Atlantic Ocean some 1900 km west off Dakar, Senegal.

Conclusions: "The members of the committee are unanimous in attributing the accident to a serious and sudden event whose origin could not be verified with certainty."

Sources:

Air-Britain Casualty Compendium Part 47
La courte vie du F-BDRC / P.Parpaite

Statistics

  • worst accident in 1948
  • worst accident of this aircraft type
  • worst accident of this aircraft type at the time

Location

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