|Site 27km South of Libenge|
Number of deaths 31
Passenger count 25
Date 12 May 1948
Injuries (nonfatal) 1
|Summary Extreme weather conditions|
Similar 1948 Heathrow Disaster, British European Airways F, 1948 Australian National, 1948 Los Gatos DC‑3 crash, Northwest Airlines Flight 421
The 1948 Sabena DC-4 Crash was the crash of a Douglas DC-4-1009 of the Belgian airline Sabena , 27 km South of Libenge, Congo (Democratic Republic) on 12 May 1948. It was the deadliest accident for Sabena at the time and the second of three deadly Sabena crashes in 1948. It was also the deadliest in Belgian Congo before the country's independence in 1960, of the 32 people on board 31 were killed, leaving only 1 survivor.
The DC-4-1009 involved was built in 1946 and bought new from Douglas with serial number 42932 and registration OO-CBE and was used by the Belgian airline company Sabena from 17 April 1946 until its destruction in 1948. The aircraft was mostly used in Belgian Congo and carried Regent Prince Charles of Belgium back to Belgium on 13 August 1947 after his official visit to Congo.
The Sabena flight departed from Léopoldville-N'Djili Airport, Congo Democratic Republic on route to Libenge Airport, Congo Democratic Republic with 25 passengers and 7 crew members on board.
While above the Congo rainforest, 27 km South of Libenge, at an altitude of 700 feet, the aircraft probably penetrated a very turbulent line of clouds or flew the aircraft into the active centre of a tornado at a low altitude. The aircraft was probably then forced to the ground by a down-ward gust.,
The aircraft hit the tree-tops and left a 200 m (660 ft) trail through the forest until it finally crashed, killing all 7 crew members and 24 of the 25 passengers, the sole survivor was an Egyptian man named Moutafis.
The wreck was located the following day and the injured sole survivor was rescued. Rescuers searched for more survivors, but it quickly became clear that their efforts were in vain. This crash was the second deadly crash of three involving a Sabena aircraft in 1948, making 1948 the dealiest year in Sabena's history.