Sabena OO-AUB Ostend Crash, Killing 12

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 aircraft was flying from Cologne to London and should have made a scheduled stop at Brussel's Haren airport. However, Brussels was shrouded in fog and the pilot was advised to fly on to Ostend. Weather conditions were poor in Ostend as well and the aircraft hit a factory chimney while flying on approach to Ostend Stene airport. All on board were killed including the Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse who were traveling to London for a minor royal wedding.

Instead of welcoming the incoming plane, Prince Ludwig was informed by airway officials that the Belgian Sabena airliner carrying his family had crashed while attempting an emergency landing at fog-covered Ostend airport, killing all. Prostrate, young Prince Ludwig was rushed to the home of friends, Lord & Lady Louis Mountbatten, relatives of King George VI. Additional news from Ostend added the most horrifying note to the tragedy. Searchers poking in the charred wreck of the plane stumbled on the remains of an infant, prematurely delivered when the plane crashed, lying beside the crumpled body of Grand Duchess Cecile.