Sabena OO-AUB Ostend crash

Sabena OO-AUB Ostend crash

Infobox Airliner accident|name=Sabena OO-AUB Crash
Date=November 16, 1937
Site=Ostend, Belgium
Fatalities=12 (including stillborn child)
Aircraft Type=Junkers Ju 52/3m
Tail Number=OO-AUB
Survivors = 0

A Junkers Ju 52 aircraft owned and operated by Belgian air operator Sabena crashed near Ostend, Belgium on November 16, 1937. The flight from Cologne, Germany, to London, United Kingdom, was scheduled to stop at Brussels, but bad weather forced the pilot to continue to Ostend. Unfortunately, conditions were little better at Ostend, and the aircraft hit a factory chimney while circling to land at Stene Airport.

The plane was piloted by Tony Lambotte, one of the most senior in Sabena service, with over six hundred thousand flying miles to his credit. In his crew were an engineer, a wireless operator and a mechanic. Among those on board were the Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus of Hesse (b. 1906), his wife, former Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark (b. 1911, elder sister of Prince Philip, later Duke of Edinburgh) who was heavily pregnant at the time, their sons Ludwig (b. 1931) and Alexander (b. 1933), the Grand Duke's widowed mother, former Princess Eleonore of Solms-Hohensolms-Lich (b. 1871), Baron Joachim von Riedesel, and Lina Henar, the children's nurse. The group were travelling to London for the wedding of the Hereditary Grand Duke's younger brother Louis. Baron von Riesdsel was to be Louis' best man.

As Lambotte brought the plane in over Stene to land, the tip of a wing touched the chimney's top. The wing and an engine were ripped away and, in a mass of flames, the Junkers crashed into the works below. All 11 passengers and crew lost their lives in the accident. The remains of Grand Duchess Cecilie's unborn child were found among the wreckage. [ [,9171,758458,00.html Curse of Hesse - Time Magazine] ] The plane crash occurred on the 59th anniversary of the death of Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine, and the 34th anniversary of the death of Princess Elisabeth of Hesse, Georg's aunt and half-sister, respectively.

Louis' wedding was celebrated, as scheduled, the following day, and immediately he set off with his new wife, Margaret Geddes (1913-1997), daughter of Lord Geddes, to Belgium to visit the crash site. The funeral took place in Darmstadt, Hesse a few days later. Attending were Prince Philip, Gottfried, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Prince Philipp of Hesse, Berthold, Margrave of Baden, Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia and Lord Louis Mountbatten, among others. A photograph of the funeral procession, showing Prince Louis as chief mourner, shows crowds saluting the mourners with their right hand in the air. World War II began less than two years later.

The Hereditary Grand Duke and Duchess' fourteen-month-old daughter, Johanna (b. 1936) was the only one of the family who was not onboard the aircraft. She was adopted by her uncle Louis in early 1938. Johanna died of meningitis in 1939.

With the death of the childless Prince Louis in 1968, the male line of the Hesse and the Rhine became extinct.

See also

* Lists of accidents and incidents on commercial airliners
* Air safety


*"Duff, David. Hessian Tapestry. David & Charles PLC, 1979."

External links

* [ Plane Crash Info]

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