Sabena Crash 1946


Drawing of Sabena OO-CBG by Fernand Van de Plas of Belguim


On September 18, 1946 the first worldwide major civilian airline crash of an aeroplane, took place in Gander, Newfoundland. The stories we relate below are from news articles, personal experiences, research and official documentation of the rescue from US Coast Guard reports.

Two things of note; this was the first use of helicopters in a civilian aviation rescue operation in the world. The cemetery located at the crash site named St. Martin-In-The Woods was so titled in honour of Dr. Samuel Martin, a military doctor. Dr. Martin worked tirelessly at the scene of the accident helping the injured and was responsible for the saving of many lives.

Crash Location

Crash site


Rescue In Newfoundland

Dr. Samuel Martin

Sabena Crash, St. Martin-in-the Woods

Ten Feet Tall

Tragedy & Rescue (link)

Sabena Crash Rescue Avoids Disaster

Rescue slide show

Probable Final Flight Path of OO-CBG

OO-CBG Accident Report

Obituary of a Sabena Crash Victim

Rescue Video links

Information On Another Sabena  Passenger

Voices From The Wreckage - Downhome Life magazine article

"St. Martin's" Survivor John King

The Hostess Survived

USCG CDR Stewart Graham - Helio Pilot # 2

CBC News Reports From The Past

They Arrived At The Crash Scene First

Rogers TV production of 1946 Sabena Crash (video)

70th Anniversary Ceremony (video)






We would like to thank the US Coast Guard Association and Lt. Col. Ted Morris USAF (retired) for their cooperation.


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