All fifteen people on board - the crew of four and eleven technicians - were killed when a Bristol Britannia aircraft crashed just before noon today at Downend, near Bristol.
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Background: All fifteen people on board - the crew of four and eleven technicians - were killed when a Bristol Britannia aircraft crashed just before noon today at Downend, near Bristol.
The aircraft was returning to the Bristol Aeroplane's works at Filton Airfield, Bristol, after a local test flight. It was the only Mark 301 Britannia and was the prototype for the 300 series.
The aircraft disintegrated on impact and parts of the wreckage crashed into houses, tearing holes in roofs and shattering walls and windows. Ten houses were damaged. One woman was injured and taken to hospital and there were other minor casualties.
Ernest Hugh Statham, assistant chief test pilot at Bristol's, was piloting the aircraft at the time and died in the crash.
Heavy pieces of wreckage were scattered over a wide area and large pieces of the fuselage piled up in a hallow in the middle of a wood. Smaller pieces of metal and soundproofing material which were scattered half a mile down the other side of the hill, caused the damage to the houses. One householder, a Mrs Dorothy Watts - here interviewed by our reporter - was feeding her ten-week-old baby Caroline in the lounge when there was a crash and athud at the back door. Mrs Watts opened the door - and found a mass of blazing metal on the spot where the normally parked her baby in a pra???.
Another resident interviewed by our reporter was Mrs Cairns....
All afternoon experts were busy at the scene of the crash sorting debris for clues as to the cause. Some film was recovered which way through light on the disaster.