49 Years ago today: On 20 November 1974 a Lufthansa Boeing 747 crashed on takeoff from Nairobi, Kenya, killing 59 out of 157 occupants.

Date:Wednesday 20 November 1974
Type:Silhouette image of generic B741 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 747-130
First flight:1970-03-30 (4 years 8 months)
Total airframe hrs:16781
Engines:Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 17
Passengers:Fatalities: 55 / Occupants: 140
Total:Fatalities: 59 / Occupants: 157
Aircraft damage:Destroyed
Aircraft fate:Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Nairobi International Airport (NBO) (   Kenya)
Phase:Takeoff (TOF)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Nairobi International Airport (NBO/HKNA), Kenya
Destination airport:Johannesburg International Airport (JNB/FAJS), South Africa

Boeing 747 D-ABYB was taking off for the last leg of the Frankfurt (FRA) – Nairobi (NBO) – Johannesburg (JNB) flight when the crew felt vibration or buffeting following lift off. The captain, suspecting wheel imbalance, raised the gear. A lack of acceleration forced the crew to lower the nose in order to maintain airspeed. The Boeing continued to descend however and contacted the ground 1120 m past the end of runway 24 and struck an elevated road 114 m further on. The aircraft broke up and caught fire before coming to rest 454 m past the initial point of impact.
Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: “The accident was caused by the crew initiating a take-off with the leading edge flaps retracted because the pneumatic system which operates them had not been switched on. This resulted in the aircraft becoming airborne in a partially stalled condition which the pilots did not identify in the short time available to them for recovery. Major contributory factors were the lack of warning of a critical condition of leading edge flap position and the failure of the crew to complete satisfactorily their checklist items.”