Dag Hammarskjöld: 1961 Ndola United Nations DC-6 crash


“The Ndola United Nations DC-6 crash occurred on 18 September 1961 in Northern Rhodesia. The crash resulted in the deaths of all people onboard including Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, and 15 others. Hammarskjöld had been en route to cease-fire negotiations with Moise Tshombe during the Congo Crisis. Three official inquiries failed to determine conclusively the cause of the crash, which set off a succession crisis at the United Nations. In September 1961, during the Congo Crisis, Hammarskjöld learned about fighting between ‘non-combatant’ UN forces and Katangese troops of Moise Tshombe; on 18 September Hammarskjöld was en route to negotiate a cease-fire when the aircraft he was flying in crashed near Ndola, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). Hammarskjöld and fifteen others perished in the crash. The crash set off a succession crisis at the United Nations, as Hammarskjöld’s death required the Security Council to vote on a successor. The aircraft involved in this accident was a Douglas DC-6B, c/n 43559/251, registered in Sweden as SE-BDY, first flown in 1952 and powered by four Pratt & Whitney R-2800 18-cylinder radial piston engines. A special report issued by the United Nations following the crash stated that a bright flash in the sky was seen at approximately 01:00. According to the UN special report, it was this information that resulted in the initiation of search and rescue operations. Initial indications that the crash might not have been an accident led to multiple official inquiries and persistent speculation that the secretary-general was assassinated. … Despite the multiple official inquiries that failed to find evidence of assassination, some continue to believe that the death of Hammarskjöld was not an accident. At the time of Hammarskjöld’s death, intelligence agencies of the U.S. and its allies were actively involved in the political situation in the Congo, which culminated in Belgian and United States support for the secession of Katanga and the assassination of former prime minister Patrice Lumumba. Belgium and the United Kingdom had a vested interest in maintaining their control over much of the country’s copper industry during the Congolese transition from colonialism to independence. Concerns about the nationalisation of the copper industry could have provided a financial incentive to remove either Lumumba or Hammarskjöld. …”
Wikipedia
W – Congo Crisis
NY Times: More Clues, and Questions, in 1961 Crash That Killed Dag Hammarskjold
LA Times: ‘Significant new evidence’ cited in 1961 death of U.N.’s Hammarskjold
YouTube: Hammarskjold’s Death Shocks The World, The Last Mission [of Dag Hammarskjold] 1:14:58

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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