The accident killed all 23 people aboard the aircraft. The five crew consisted of a pilot, co-pilot, navigator, wireless operator and flight engineer. The co-pilot was Warrant Officer Antonín Brož, aged 31, from Hradec Králové in northern Bohemia. The flight engineer was Flight Sergeant Zdeněk Sedlák, aged 33, from Prague, who was the husband of LACW Sedláková who had been booked to travel on the flight but whose seat had been reallocated to another passenger
Sedláková had been born Edita Hermannová, a Czechoslovak Jew who reached the UK as a refugee after the Germans murdered her parents. She enlisted in the WAAF and was posted to 311 Squadron, where she and Sedlák met. They were married in May 1945. Sedláková was described as “a high-spirited girl” who was “deeply in love with her husband”. About a fortnight before the crash, Sedláková had secured her discharge from the RAF so that she and Sedlák could return to their homeland together. She was last seen at Blackbushe in the vicinity of luggage that was to be loaded onto the aircraft. Either by herself or with the help of others she had boarded KG867 unauthorised
The aircraft had no fire detection or warning devices. But it had two built-in CO2 fire extinguishers to fight engine fires. The extinguishers were not automatic. There was a control panel on the starboard side of the cockpit, from which the co-pilot would operate the extinguishers when instructed by the pilot. Investigators found that both of the extinguishers had been discharged. This suggested that a member of the crew, presumably the co-pilot, Warrant Officer Brož, had tried to extinguish the engine fire.
Access to the control panel was poor, as it was partly obstructed by an emergency pump for the aircraft’s hydraulic equipment. The fire extinguisher control panel included selector switches for the co-pilot to select which of the four engines to douse with CO2. Investigators found that aboard KG867 the selector switch for the port engines was in the “off” position and the selector for the starboard engines was switched to extinguish the inner starboard engine. This suggested that in the emergency, Warrant Officer Brož may have selected to extinguish the wrong engine by mistake