Remarks by Jack McKillop: "This aircraft was built as a C-54B-20-DO Skymaster and delivered to the USAAF as 44-9016 on December 22, 1944. After the war, the aircraft was sold to Delta Air Lines of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, one of seven DC-4s operated by Delta, and delivered to the Douglas Santa Monica, California, USA, plant for conversion to a civilian aircraft on December 13, 1945.
This DC-4 was delivered to Delta on March 2, 1946 registered NC37475 and entered service on the Chicago, Illinois, USA to Miami, Florida, USA route. Delta sold this DC-4 to Pacific Northern Airlines of Portland, Oregon, USA, on February 27, 1953 and it was used on services in the Territory of Alaska, USA. The aircraft was subsequently sold to Overseas National Airways of New York, New York, USA, and re-registered N410NA and named "Loma D." In June 1959, this aircraft was sold to the Witwatersand Native Labour Association of Rhodesia and registered ZS-CLN; in 1960, it was re-registered VP-YST. Its final registration was A2-ZER (see below)."
Date: April 4, 1974 Time: 02.35
Type: Douglas DC-4
Year built: 1944
Crew: 3 fatalities / 4 on board
Passengers: 75 fatalities / 80 on board
Total: 78 fatalities / 84 on board
Location: Francistown; nr (Botswana)
Phase: Initial Climb/Final Appr.
Nature: Scheduled Passenger
Flight: Francistown - (Flightnumber)
The DC-4 took off from Francistown Runway 11 at 02.32h. The engine temperatures started to rise, even after opening the gills. When temperatures exceeded the limit, the engines started backfiring. A left hand circuit was made to return to the airport, but the the aircraft kept descending and crashlanded 2.2 mile (3.6 km) short of the runway. The aircraft struck some trees and burst into flames.
PROBABLE CAUSE: Powerloss on all 4 engines due to fuel contamination. A load of Jet A1 (Avtur) fuel had been unloaded in one of the Aviation gasoline (Avgas) tanks, causing a contamination of 25-30%.
Source: Aviation Safety Data Base.