Air Disaster at Kallang Airport

Thursday, 13th May 1954

The first air disaster at Kallang Airport happened on 13 May 1954 at 2:30 p.m. The BOAC Constellation, Lockheed L-749A (registered as G-ALAM "Able Mike") was on a scheduled flight from Sydney to London and had stopped over at Darwin (Australia) and Jakarta (Indonesia). The aircraft touched down too soon at the seaward end of the Kallang Runway 06, struck a seawall and crashed. Within moments the fuselage was enveloped in flames. 31 passengers and two crew members died in Singapore's first civil air disaster. The pilot and six other crew members survived by escaping from the cockpit through a 14-by-10-inch clear vision panel.

Update 16 November 1954: The Singapore government held a public inquiry into the accident. The accident was attributed to poor execution of the approach due to crew tiredness, which exacerbated the pilot's decision to touch own near the end of the runway. The inquiry determined that, at the time of arrival in Singapore, Pilot Captain Trevor William Hoyle had been on duty for over 21 hours since the flight departed Sydney.

After studying the public report on the crash, the Singapore coroner recorded verdicts of 'death by misadventure'. The coroner also said that Captain Hoyle had made an error of judgement but that no one was criminally responsible for the crash. Most of the victims were buried in a communal grave at Bidadari Cemetery.

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