FEBRUARY 13, 1943
YANGTZE RIVER NEAR KIANGTSING
At 0210 Greenwich Mean Time (1010 local time) on February 13, 1943, CNAC’s most famous plane left Chungking in the charge of Australian Captain Sidney De Kantzow. It was plane No. 46, a.k.a. “the French DC-3,” a.k.a. “The DC-2 ˝.” De Kantzow took off into bad weather with 16 passengers, two crew members, and a weight of west-bound freight to make up a full CNAC load – i.e. a ton of overload in the eyes of the American C.A.B. The weather was bad and the plane was flying blind around 8,000 ft. After some forty minutes of flying, icing conditions were so bad that Captain De Kantzow decided to return to Chungking. On return the right engine failed and caught fire and he was unable to feather the propeller, possibly due to a break in an oil line. Icing conditions continued to be bad and the motor became very rough. Captain De kantzow decided to make a forced landing. The plane finally landed on a Yangtze River sandbar near Kiangtsing about 11:26 o’clock China time. None of the passengers or crew suffered an injury, and they all returned to Chungking by river steamer that afternoon.[i]
CNAC raced to salvage the airplane, but the great river had other ideas. Its waters rose and swept away the plane.
[i] De Kantzow’s accident in No. 46: Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Stockholders for the Year 1943, the Young Papers.
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