Date & Time: Apr 4, 1974 at 0235 LT
Type of aircraft:
Charter/Taxi (Non Scheduled Revenue Flight)
Gaborone - Lilongwe
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
Shortly after a night takeoff from Gaborone-Seretse Khama Airport, the crew encountered problems with all four engines that lost power and backfired. Unable to gain sufficient height, the aircraft struck tree tops, stalled and crashed in flames 3,600 meters past the runway end, two minutes after liftoff. A crew member and five passengers were rescued while 78 other occupants were killed. Most of the passengers were employees of South African Mining Company returning home.
It was determined that all four engines lost power during initial climb due to fuel contamination. Investigations revealed that the aircraft was refueled with Avgas but confusion by ground personnel at Gaborone Airport caused Jet A1 to be transferred in an Avgas fuel tank. This caused the aircraft to be fueled with Avgas contaminated with 25-30% of Jet A1.