Sabena Crash Rescue Avoids Disaster

by R.G. Pelley

I had heard over the years that during the rescue of the survivors of the 1946 Sabena crash, some of the pilots, both helicopter and fixed-wing, had done outstanding work in difficult conditions. There was one story in particular that I heard concerning a PBY float plane that almost went off the runway while landing with survivors but I was never able to find anything concrete about it. One part of that story was that if it had been on a smaller airfield, the float plane may not have survived. Apparently the length and width of the runways in Gander was what provided the necessary safety factor. Well I finally found the evidence I was looking for!  Here is a page cut out from a 05 October 1946 issue of the “The London Illustrated News” (p369) which clearly highlights the story.  As can be clearly seen from the photo, the main wheel on the port side is completely flat.   The caption under the photo says : “An injured survivor being lifted from a rescue aircraft which itself almost crashed when a tyre blew on landing at Gander.”  Luckily the pilot knew what he was doing and was able to land his aircraft safely!

Editor's note: this particular PBY was operated by the US Army Air Corps - OA-10A 44-34005 - and was piloted by Major Guido Tesi .

Sabena rescue




Researched by R G Pelley


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