1959 Air Charter Turkey crash

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
G-AGRH Zephyr
Accident summary
Date 23 April 1959
Summary Controlled flight into terrain (mountains)
Site Mount Süphan, Turkey
38°55′N 42°49′E / 38.92°N 42.82°E / 38.92; 42.82Coordinates: 38°55′N 42°49′E / 38.92°N 42.82°E / 38.92; 42.82
Passengers 0
Crew 12
Fatalities 12
Survivors 0
Aircraft type Avro Super Trader IV
Operator Air Charter
Registration G-AGRH
Flight origin United Kingdom
Stopover Ankara
2nd stopover Bahrain International Airport
Destination Woomera Airfield, Australia

G-AGRH Zephyr was an Avro Super Trader IV cargo aircraft, which crashed on Mount Süphan in eastern Turkey on 23 April 1959. The Super Trader IV was a modified Avro Tudor IV, which had been fitted with an aft cargo door and was flown unpressurized.


G-AGRH, owned by Air Charter Limited departed Ankara for a flight to Bahrain, which was a leg of a long cargo flight from United Kingdom to Woomera Airfield in Australia. The aircraft was carrying twelve men and top-secret equipment for Woomera rocket range. Between Ankara and Teheran, it used an air corridor, which would take it over the middle of Lake Van, Turkey's largest lake almost surrounded by mountains and situated close to the Soviet-Armenian border.[1]

At 08:14, the aircraft passed over Gemerek at FL115 and Elazığ at 08:59 (at FL135). The last position report was received at 09:26 over Muş. The aircraft had crashed, and was found six days later on Mount Süphan, a little north of Lake Van.

A special Royal Air Force mountain rescue team of six men from Nicosia, Cyprus reached the crash site at the top of the mountain some days later and demolished the plane wreckage with several explosives after retrieving several important documents.[2]

It is a big probability that there were nuclear war heads in the cargo. After some years later the villagers who went to the wreck has been diagnosed with cancer and died due to high exposure to the radioactive substances.

It was concluded that the aircraft, which had been flying on instruments, drifted north of its normal track because of strong winds and crashed into the mountain. Contributing factors were that the winds were stronger than forecast – an accurate bearing could not be obtained at Muş, and the wind forecast at Van had not been checked. Sub-normal temperatures would result in a high indicated altimeter reading and calculations on the flight and contacts with beacons were not coordinated and controlled.


  1. ^ "Chapter 5 – The Turkish Air Crashes". RAF Mountain Rescue: 1. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  2. ^ "Chapter 5 – The Turkish Air Crashes". RAF Mountain Rescue: 5. Retrieved 1 January 2009.