The “1948 Heathrow Disaster” was the crash of a Douglas DC-3C registered OO-AWH of the Belgian airline Sabena at Heathrow Airport on 2 March 1948. It was the first major accident at London Heathrow Airport, then simply called London Airport; of the 22 people on board 20 were killed, of whom most had British nationality.
The plane had earlier, while flying from Brussels, warned the airport that it might have to make an emergency landing. There was a thick fog when the aircraft crashed.
The DC-3 involved was built in 1947 with serial number 43154 and was used by Sabena from 21 March 1947 until its destruction in 1948. It was built for a US military contract but was never delivered and was the last DC-3 to be built by Douglas.
Workers in a hangar nearby saw the aircraft crash on the runway and quickly went to the survivors’ aid. The workers quickly pulled a few passengers from the burning wreckage. When emergency personnel finally arrived on the scene, there was no one left to save. Three survivors were badly burned and were quickly taken to Hillingdon County Hospital, where one of them soon died from his injuries.
The ghost that haunts the runways of Heathrow Airport looking for his lost briefcase
According to ghost spotters – yes they do exist – there is a spectre that haunts the skies over the West London airport.
A story – not mentioned by any newspaper – goes that in the confusion and fog, rescue workers trying to get to the victims spoke afterwards of a man appearing asking if anyone had seen his briefcase.
They later reported finding the exact same gentleman’s body in the wreckage.
Since that fateful day, there have apparently been sightings of this ghostly man haunting the airport’s runways on several occasions.
On one occasion in particular in 1970, the airport’s the radar office reported picking up a signal which looked like a person on the runway.
The airport police and fire truck were sent to the spot guided by the spooked radar office, but when they arrived, no one was there.
Was this just people who knew the story of the downed Douglas or was it something truly spectral floating around the runways?
Thanks to Martin Elvery (journalist for My London News) for the authorisation to reproduce part of his article.