NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
19th September, 1961 : The DC6 airliner carrying Dag Hammarskjold, the UN Secretary-General, was approaching Ndola Airport in Northern Rhodesia early yesterday when, without warning, it plunged to earth, tearing a wide swathe through the bush. Thirteen of the 14 passengers died, including Hammarskjold. The UN Secretary-General had been flying to Ndola to meet Mr Tshombe, the Katanga leader, who fled to Northern Rhodesia when UN forces mounted their controversial action to end Katanga secession. The Western powers have been highly critical of this operation, and Hammarskjold himself believed it should never have been launched. He had written to Tshombe, agreeing to a meeting to work out a cease-fire.
But the sole survivor of the crash, an American security guard, said Hammarskjold had changed his mind about landing at Ndola, and told the pilot to alter the course. Soon afterwards there was an explosion and the plane went down.