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Date:Saturday 7 September 1946
Time:ca 04:10
Type:Avro 685 York I
Operator:British South American Airways - BSAA
Registration: G-AHEW
MSN: 1300
First flight: 1946
Engines: 4 Rolls-Royce Merlin
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 20 / Occupants: 20
Total:Fatalities: 24 / Occupants: 24
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:3 km (1.9 mls) S of Bathurst-Yundum Airport (BJL) (   Gambia)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Bathurst-Yundum Airport (BJL/GBYD), Gambia
Destination airport:Natal-Augusto Severo International Airport, RN (NAT/SBNT), Brazil
An Avro York plane, named "Star Leader", was destroyed when it crashed shortly after takeoff from Bathurst (now named Banjul), Gambia. All 24 on board were killed.
The aircraft was on a flight from London to Buenos Aires via Lisbon, Bathurst, Natal, Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo. It had arrived at 02:43 hr at Banjul where a new crew took over. At approximately 04:08 hr the York took off again for Natal. The weather was fair, with visibility 10 miles and cloud base 1,500ft 3/10 strato-cumulus. The wind was WSW at two knots.
Shortly after takeoff the aircraft had crashed in the bush nearly two miles south of the airfield. The port wing first struck trees 40-50 feet high and then crashed through more trees as it rolled over to the left. The airplane burst into flames.

The accident flight was the captain's first York flight on a scheduled service, and it was also the first takeoff he made in a York loaded to more than 69,000 lb.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The captain losing control of the aircraft very shortly after it had left the ground. The cause of the loss of control cannot be determined with certainty, but that it was due to a mishandling of the controls by the captain is the most likely explanation."

Loss of control

» Air Britain Casualty compendium (pt. 44)
» B.A.L.P.A. Criticizes Accident Reports (Flight Interational 29-5-1947)
» BSAA Accident in West Africa (Flight Interational 24-4-1947)


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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 Bathurst-Yundum Airport to Natal-Augusto Severo International Airport, RN as the crow flies is 2950 km (1844 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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Avro York

  • 257 built
  • 9th loss
  • 3rd fatal accident
  • The worst accident (at the time)
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