|Crash site||Harstad harbour, Norway|
|Airline||DNL (Det Norske Luftfartselskap)|
|Aircraft||Short S.25 Sandringham – LN-IAU – Bamse Brakar|
|Route||Oslo/Fornebu – Trondheim – Bodö – Harstad – Tromsö|
|Crew||7 – 7 survivors|
|Passengers||26 – 26 survivors|
The DNL route from Oslo to Kirkenes was only operated during the summer period. The first leg from Oslo to Tromsö was flown with a Short Sandringham while the last leg was flown with a Junkers Ju 52.
On the first northwards trip of the year 1950 “Bamse Brakar” crashed at 15:30 just after take off from Harstad. Both leftside engines stalled just as the plane was a few metres off the water. It tilted to the left and the wing tip and floats hit the water. Both floats and wing were torn off and the plane sank slowly. The rescue team arrived in time to save all 33 on board. The next day a large crane salvaged the wreck.
The possible reason for the crash was lack of fuel supply to the left engines.
The plane carried about 45 mail bags. As this was the first trip of the year there was quite a lot of philatelic mail in addition to the regular commercial mail. Some of the mail bags floated to the surface shortly after the crash, and 8 bags were recovered the first day. As the wreck was salvaged the next days most of the remaining bags were recovered as well. Only three mail bags with mail for Troms and Finmark were lost.
The mail was brought to the post office in Harstad where it was dried and sorted out. The commercial mail was forwarded to the recipients without any markings. The philatelic mail was forwarded to Kirkenes where an arrival postmark was applied before the items were returned to the senders.
The well known Swedish aerophilately collector/dealer Georg Lindman had prepared a large number of covers and cards for this flight – both from Denmark and Norway. All his covers were addressed to Mr. G. Karlsson, Kirkenes, poste restante.
Mr. Lindman requested the post office in Kirkenes to certify each cover with an endorsement referring to the crash. The post office accepted this and applied a green handstamp “Kirkenes postkontor” and a manuscript explanation (see type A).
According to Harmers London auction January 1994 (C. Hardeman Smith Collection) only 40 such items were endorsed by the Postmaster.
All the Lindman cards and covers show an arrival postmark KIRKENES 19-5-50.
Plane crash “Bamse Brakar”
in Harstad 15/5-1950.
Kirkenes Post Office
SALVAGED AIR MAIL
FLIGHT 15 MAY 1950
I have only seen two examples of this label. Both items are philatelic and prepared by a collector named Eliasen from Oslo. My theory is that these labels were produced by Eliasen and attached to his covers when they were returned from Kirkenes.
Examples of mail