One hundred and eighteen people were killed on Sunday (18 June) when a three-engined Trident Jet aircraft of British European Airways crashed after takeoff into a field neat the town of Staines, four miles (6 kms) from London's Heathrow Airport.
One hundred and eighteen people were killed on Sunday (18 June) when a three-engined Trident Jet aircraft of British European Airways crashed after takeoff into a field neat the town of Staines, four miles (6 kms) from London's Heathrow Airport. The crash was the worst air disaster in Britain and third major air tragedy in the world in five days.
It's not known what caused the aircraft to crash only a short distance from the centre of Staines, but the "black box" flight recorder was recovered. The airline said there was no reason to suspect sabotage.
The aircraft was on a scheduled flight form London to Brussels when it slammed into the ground only minutes after it had taken off. Rescue teams of police and firemen arrived at the scene within minutes and polled out three survivors. But two died at the scene and a third in hospital.
The tail section of the aircraft lay about 200 feet (approximately 70 metres) from the main body of the plane. A small fire broke out after the crash, and rescue workers moved away form the wreckage as the first flames appeared. But the blaze was soon extinguished.
It's reported from Brussels that a party of 17 Irish industrialists had been expected in the Belgian capital on the ill-fated plane. Several Belgians, Frenchmen and South africans were also reported to be on the airliner The aircraft was fully-loaded and it's said many people were trying to get to their destinations before Monday's (19 June) one-day pilots' strike to protest hijackings went into effect.
Police said that rescue operations were hampered by about a thousand sightseers who'd gathered at the crash scene.
On Wednesday (14 June) a Japan Airlines DC-8 crashed in flames on its way into New Delhi airport killing 88 On Thursday (15 June) a Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Convair 880 with 81 aboard plunged into the embattled jungles of South Vietname's Control Highlands leaving no survivors. Sunday's crash brings the total deaths in the week's air tragedies to 28.
The accident near London Airport was the first involving the British-made tridents on scheduled runs in their eight years of service.