Airframes Wiki

Boeing 377-10-28 construction number 15943, original registration G-ALSA.

Delivered to BOAC 28 October 1949 and operated as RMA Cathay, it made the inaugural BOAC London-New York flight 6 December 1949 via Prestwick.

On 25 December 1954, en route from London to New York, 15943 made a hard landing at Prestwick, bounced, then swerved off the runway and broke up, bursting into flames. The accident occerred at 3:30 AM in heavy rain. 24 of the 25 passengers were killed, and 4 of the 11 crew. The crewmembers who survived had been thrown clear of the aircraft as it broke up. The pilot was Captain W.L.Stewart.

The accident was attributed to pilot error; that coming in high, he increased the rate of descent and flared too late, undershooting the runway by about 20 metres. The portside main undercarriage strut was thought to have collapsed and severed fuel lines, starting the fire.

A shipment of diamonds worth £1,000,000 was scattered through the crash site, all but 10% were subsequently recovered.


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