ASN Aircraft accident Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express 41-24027 Whenuapai Air Base
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Date:Monday 2 August 1943
Type:Silhouette image of generic B24 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express
Operator:United States Army Air Force - USAAF
Registration: 41-24027
MSN: 822
First flight:
Crew:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 11 / Occupants: 20
Total:Fatalities: 14 / Occupants: 25
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:2 km (1.3 mls) NNE of Whenuapai Air Base (   New Zealand)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Departure airport:Whenuapai Air Base (NZWP), New Zealand
Destination airport:Amberley RAAF Station, QLD (YAMB), Australia
A USAAF Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express was crewed by a United Air Lines crew operating under contract to the Air Transport Command.
It took off at 02:34 in light rain and 2½-mile visibility with 13-14 mph NNE wind, gusting 28 mph, and climbed 400-600 feet. Almost immediately entered a steep 180° left-hand turn with flaps down, gradually lost height and had almost levelled out when it hit the ground 1¼ miles NNE of the airfield, ¼ mile to the left of the line of the runway. The C-87 broke up as it bounced and skidded over the Waitemata marshland, the cabin coming to rest 300 yards from the first point of impact. Rescuers were impeded by deep mud, and water rising around the wreckage as the tide came in. Of the 25 on board, three crew and 11 passengers died in the crash, and another passenger of injuries on the 19th.
On board were a group of Japanese interns who were being swapped for POWs in a secret operation.

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photo of Consolidated-C-87-Liberator-Express-41-24027
accident date: 02-08-1943
type: Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express
registration: 41-24027

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Whenuapai Air Base to Amberley RAAF Station, QLD as the crow flies is 2285 km (1428 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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Consolidated C-87

  • 287 built
  • 11th loss
  • 8th fatal accident
  • 3rd worst accident (at the time)
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 New Zealand
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