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Accident description
Last updated: 21 October 2017
Status:
Date:Monday 25 August 1952
Time:01:00 UTC
Type:Handley Page HP.81 Hermes IVA
Operator:Airwork
Registration: G-ALDF
C/n / msn: HP.81/7
First flight: 1950
Crew:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 51
Total:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 57
Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:ca 3 km W off Trapani (   Italy)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Int'l Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Blackbushe Airport (BBS/EGLK), United Kingdom
Destination airport:Malta-Luqa Airport (MLA/LMML), Malta
Narrative:
Hermes G-ALDF took off from Blackbushe at 19:25 GMT for a flight to Khartoum via Malta. Around 00:25, approaching Sicily, no. 2 and 3 engines problems forced the crew to shut them down and feather both propellers. The only electrical power from the batteries was soon depleted by use of the radio equipment for emergency signals. The remaining two engines also failed, forcing the crew to ditch the aircraft off Port of Trapani.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The probable cause of the accident lay in a failure of one or both of the two inner engines Nos. 2. and 3. The reason for the failure was undetermined.
The contributory causes were; a) State of mind arising from the knowledge of another accident, only a short time before, to an aircraft of the same type, which was proved to have been due to power-plant failure. b) Failure of electrical generators when No. 2 and No. 3 engines stopped. c) Batteries inadequate for ensuring normal flight functions and not even sufficient for satisfactory transmission of distress messages. d) Limited experience of the crew and of the hostesses on this type of aircraft. e) Limited training of the crew. f). Emergency procedures not properly followed, particularly by the hostesses. g) Life rafts either missing or not used. h) Failure of lifebelts.
The Commission was of the opinion that only one of the two inner engines (Nos. 2 and 3) failed of its own accord and that the stoppage and failure of the other one was caused by an error of the flight engineer."

Classification:
Ditching

Sources:
» ICAO Circular 38-AN/33 (105-109)


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Map
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 Blackbushe Airport to Malta-Luqa Airport as the crow flies is 2092 km (1308 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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