On a moonless night in July 1950, a BOAC Argonaut suffered engine failure midway across the South Atlantic. David Ransted recalls a tale of courage and airmanship that averted disaster.
Courage and Skill in the mid-Atlantic
British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) flight BA371/184 was a scheduled service from London to Rio de Janeiro via Lisbon, Dakar and Natal. Late on July 20, 1950 it departed the Senegalese capital for Brazil, operated by Canadair C-4 Argonaut G-ALHN (c/n 160) Argosy and carrying a crew of seven along with 12 passengers plus one dog. Under the command of Captain R C ‘Cliff’ Alabaster, the aircraft’s path took it over the South Atlantic into a dark, moonless night in calm weather above gentle seas.