TWA Flight 903 was a regularly scheduled flight from Bombay (Mumbai), India to New York-Idlewild, via Cairo and Rome-Ciampino.
"The Star of Maryland", a Lockheed Constellation 749A, flew the route on the night of August 31, 1950. It departed Cairo at 23:35 for Rome-Ciampino with 55 persons aboard (48 passengers and seven crew members) in good weather.
As Flight 903 was climbing at 10,000 feet (3,000 m), the crew reported that its number three engine was on fire and that they needed a priority return to Cairo. As the plane was returning to Cairo, the engine separated from the plane, forcing the crew to attempt a forced landing in the desert about 65 miles NNW of Cairo. The airliner went down near the village of Ityai el Barud at the rim of the Western Desert, killing all 55 onboard.
Twenty-three Americans and an Egyptian film star were among the dead.