TWA Flight 903 Crashes

TWA Flight 903 from Bombay, India to New York was carried out by TWA's Constellation "Star of Maryland". Departure from Bombay was at 08:34, August 30 and arrival at Cairo at 22:17.

A complete crew change was made at Cairo and the aircraft was refueled The weather over the route was good and the flight departed Cairo at 23:35, planning to cruise at an altitude of 14,500 feet. A routine position report was received from the flight by the Cairo control tower at 23:55, "off Cairo 2335 25 miles out of Cairo at 2343 estimated time of arrival Rome 0530". This message was acknowledged but the flight did not reply. At that moment, while climbing through an altitude of approx 10,000 feet, the plane suffered a no. 3 engine failure. A major fire erupted, forcing the crew to return to Cairo. When the burning engine fell free of the aircraft, a forced landing in the desert became necessary. The aircraft crashed during the attempted night-time emergency landing.

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.