Thursday, September 1, 2016

70th Anniversary of Sabena Crash

Sept. 18 marks the 70th Anniversary of the historic Sabena crash which occurred when a DC4,OO-CBG, while on approach to Gander airport, crashed into the wilderness some 25NM SW of the runway in 1946. There were 44 people on board including the flight crew.16 survived but were severely injured. Unable to call for help they remained alive surviving the weather, the mosquitos and lack of food for 2 days before rescuers found them and administered assistance. Detailed information can be found on our website describing the rescue mission.

The GAHS will be hosting a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary on this date at the 103 SAR hanger under the authority of 9 Wing, Gander. Invited guests will include the Belgian Ambassador and USCG personal. During the ceremony, the GIAA will dedicate two streets at the airport in honour of two individuals who were instrumental in the rescue mission's success. In addition, 103 SAR will fly the ambassador and special members of the group to the crash site for an aerial viewing. Although this is a private ceremony due to Base security reasons, Rogers TV will be documenting the entire proceeding for public viewing on the Rogers local public channel. USCG is also celebrating its 100th anniversary by noting this rescue mission was the first time a helicopter was used in a civilian rescue. USCG then adopted the helicopter as its main rescue vehicle leading other countries to follow suit.

This was an historic aviation crash in not only was the helicopter proven to be a useful rescue aircraft but other aviation regulations were developed in the field of airport approach procedures and mandatory crew rest regulations. Civilian Ground Controlled Approach radar, the first in the world, was introduced at the Gander airport shortly after. Another role Gander played in aviation's history.

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