1962 Channel Airways Dakota accident
|Date||6 May 1962|
|Summary||Controlled flight into terrain|
|Site||St Boniface Down, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
|Aircraft type||Douglas C-47A Dakota|
|Operator||East Anglian Flying Services trading as Channel Airways|
|Flight origin||Jersey Airport, Jersey, Channel Islands|
|Destination||Portsmouth Airport, Portsmouth, England|
The 1962 Channel Airways Dakota accident occurred on 6 May 1962 when a Channel Airways [N 1] Douglas C-47A Dakota registered G-AGZB operating a scheduled passenger flight from Jersey to Portsmouth collided with a cloud-covered hill at St Boniface Down near Ventnor on the Isle of Wight. The aircraft was destroyed and twelve of the eighteen occupants were killed (all three crew members and nine out of 15 passengers, including three infants).
The Dakota was on a scheduled flight from Jersey to Southend with a stop at Portsmouth with 15 passengers. With low cloud and drizzle in the Portsmouth/Isle of Wight area, the aircraft notified the controller that they were descending from 3000 to 1000 feet. The aircraft was seen flying low over Ventnor just before it crashed fifty feet below the summit of St Boniface Down close to a disused Royal Air Force radar site. The aircraft bounced and smashed through a ten-foot high perimeter fence of the radar site and burst into flames, both pilots and eight of the passengers were killed instantly. The first man on the scene, a farm worker, helped two badly burned girls from the wreckage; after leading two other men to safety he ran up the road to find help where he found a group of seven amateur radio enthusiasts taking part in a competition. The radio amateurs alerted another amateur radio operator in Southampton who contacted the emergency services. The seven injured were taken to a local hospital at Ryde and Newport; two of them, a stewardess and a passenger, subsequently died.
A Coroner's Inquest was opened and then adjourned for two months on the Isle of Wight on 8 May. The Channel Airways chief pilot said it was the company's first fatal accident in 17 years of operation. The coroner paid tribute to those who took part in the rescue operation, and in particular Edward Price, the farmworker who was first on the scene.
The probable cause was the result of poor airmanship in flying below a safe altitude in bad weather and hitting cloud-covered high ground.
- The operator was East Anglian Flying Services who operated under the name Channel Airways
- Civil Aviation Authority 1974, p. 11/62
- "Ten Killed in Holiday Air Crash – 3 Babies Among The Dead – Dakota Hits Hill in Fog, Seven Injured" (News). The Times (London). Monday, 7 May 1962. (55384), col A, p. 10.
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
- "Channel Airways Tragedy". Flight International: 773. 17 May 1962.
- "Inquest Opened on Air Crash Victims" (News). The Times (London). Wednesday, 9 May 1962. (55386), col C, p. 15.