Holtaheia Accident

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Hotlaheia Accident
Eagle Airways Viking Manchester 1960.jpg
A similar Vickers Viking operated by British Eagle in 1960
Accident summary
Date 9 August 1961
Summary Controlled flight into terrain
Site Holta, Strand, Norway
59°05′07″N 6°03′41″E / 59.08528°N 6.06139°E / 59.08528; 6.06139Coordinates: 59°05′07″N 6°03′41″E / 59.08528°N 6.06139°E / 59.08528; 6.06139
Passengers 36
Crew 3
Fatalities 39
Survivors 0
Aircraft type Vickers 610 Viking 3B
Operator Cunard Eagle Airways
Registration G-AHPM
Flight origin London Heathrow, United Kingdom
Destination Stavanger Airport, Sola

The Holtaheia Accident (Norwegian: Holtaheia-ulykken) was a controlled flight into terrain accident on 9 August 1961 at Holta in Strand, Norway. The Eagle Airways (later, British Eagle) Vickers 610 Viking 3B Lord Rodney was en route from London, United Kingdom to Stavanger Airport, Sola on an AIR Tours charter flight taking a school group for a camping holiday. The aircraft was making an instrument landing when it crashed 54 km (34 mi) northeast of Stavanger. The accident killed all 39 people on board.

The 36 passengers were a school class of boys aged 13 to 16 and two masters from Lanfranc Secondary Modern School for Boys. It was at the time the deadliest aviation accident in Norway.[1][2]


Memoral at the site of the accident

The Viking left London at 13:29 on what was an estimated two and a half-hour charter flight.[3] Between 16:24 and 16:30 it crashed 18 nautical miles north-east of the airport on to Holteheia, a steep mountainside at an elevation of 1600 feet.[3] The crash site was 30 feet below the summit.[4]

The aircraft was destroyed and an intense fuel and oil fire followed the impact.[3] The search for the aircraft included an RAF Shackleton and Royal Norwegian Navy ships investigating the fjords in the area.[5] The wreckage was found fifteen hours after the crash by a Royal Norwegian Air Force helicopter, 15 miles east from the ILS track.


The aircraft was a twin piston-engined Vickers 610 Viking 3B serial number 152 and registered in the United Kingdom as G-AHPM.[6] It first flew on 2 January 1947 and was delivered new to British European Airways.[6]


The report into the crash put the cause down to "a deviation from the prescribed flight path for reasons unknown".[7]


Thirty-three of the boys and one master were buried together at a communial grave at Mitcham Road cemetery in Croydon on 17 August 1961.[8]

Ewan MacColl wrote a song, "The Young Birds," about the tragic accident.[9]


  1. ^ Hagir, Lise Andreassen; Oppedal, Mathias (9 August 2011). "Ein heil skuleklasse døde i flyulukka". Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 28 August 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "9 Aug 1961". Aviation Safety Network. Archived from the original on 28 August 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c World Airline Accident Summary, United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority, 1974, ISBN 0-903083-44-2, page 17/61
  4. ^ "The Queen Sends Message To Families" The Times, Friday, 11 August 1961; pg. 8
  5. ^ "34 Boys in Missing Airliner" The Times, Thursday, 10 August 1961; pg. 8
  6. ^ a b Martin 1975, p. 19
  7. ^ Flight International 4 October 1962, p. 557.
  8. ^ "Thousands Line Funeral Route – 34 Air Crash Victims in Common Grave" (News). The Times (London). Friday, 18 August 1961. (55163), col C, p. 10.
  9. ^ http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/liner_notes/folkways/FW08734.pdf

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