Air France Flight 406

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Air France Flight 406
Lockheed L-1649 Constellation TWA.jpg
A TWA Starliner similar to the accident aircraft
Date10 May 1961
SiteSahara Desert
Aircraft typeLockheed L-1649 Starliner
OperatorAir France
Flight originBrazzaville, Congo
1st stopoverFort Lamy Airport, Fort Lamy, Chad
2nd stopoverMarseille-Marignane Airport, Marseille, France (did not arrive)
DestinationParis, France

Air France Flight 406 was a Lockheed L-1649 Starliner that crashed in Algeria on May 10, 1961, after a bomb exploded on board. All 78 passengers and crew on board were killed.


Air France Flight 406 was an international scheduled passenger flight originating in Brazzaville, Congo with a final destination of Paris, France, with intermediate stops in Fort Lamy, Chad, and Marseille, France. The flight was flown by Lockheed L-1649 Starliner, F-BHBM De Grasse.

After taking off from Fort Lamy and while cruising at an altitude of approximately 20,000 feet, the Starliner broke up after its empennage failed. The aircraft crashed to Earth approximately 35 miles from Edjele oilfield and near the Libya border.[1] All people on board Flight 406 were killed in the crash.[2]

18 children were killed in the crash of Flight 406. Among them were the three young children, who, along with their mother Polly Lukens, the wife of the United States Charge d'Affaires in the Central African Republic, were on Flight 406 headed for London. Also among the dead were the Count and Countess de Morte Mart plus two Central African Republic Ministers. Rumors began to surface after Flight 406's crash that it had been an assassination by enemies of the Central African Republic.[3]

Air France Flight 406 was the worst aviation disaster involving a Lockheed Starliner.[4]


The most probable cause of Air France Flight 406 crashing was sabotage with a nitrocellulose explosive.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Seek to reach wreckage of French airliner
  2. ^ Aircraft accident Lockheed L-1649A Starliner F-BHBM Edjele
  3. ^ 18 children die in desert crash
  4. ^ Aviation Safety Database Lockheed L-1649 Starliner
  5. ^ Gero, David (1996). Aviation Disasters Second Edition. Patrick Stephens Limited. p. 42.

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