Invicta International Airlines Flight 435

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Invicta International Airlines Flight 435
Invicta International Airlines Vickers 952 Vanguard.jpg
Invicta International Airlines Vickers 952 Vanguard G-AXOP, the one involved in the crash.
Occurrence summary
Date 10 April 1973
Summary Controlled flight into terrain
Site 300 m south of the Herrenmatt hamlet, Hochwald, Switzerland
Passengers 139
Crew 6
Injuries (non-fatal) 36
Fatalities 108
Survivors 37
Aircraft type Vickers Vanguard
Operator Invicta International Airlines
Registration G-AXOP
Flight origin Bristol Lulsgate Airport
Destination Basle-Mulhouse Airport
Memorial near Herrenmatt/Hochwald
Flight path of Invicta Airlines Flight 435 according to the flight data recorder recording

On 10 April 1973 Invicta International Airways Flight 435 was a Vickers Vanguard 952, flying from Bristol Lulsgate to Basel-Mulhouse that ploughed into a snowy, forested hillside near Hochwald, Switzerland. It somersaulted and broke up, killing 108 with 37 survivors. To date, this accident is the deadliest accident involving a Vickers Vanguard and the deadliest aviation accident to occur on Swiss soil.[1] Many of the 139 passengers on the charter flight were women—members of the Axbridge Ladies Guild—from the Somerset, England villages of Axbridge,[2] Cheddar, Winscombe and Congresbury.[3][4][5] The accident left 55 children motherless.[2]

Pilot Anthony Dorman became disoriented, misidentifying two radio beacons and missing another.[2] When co-pilot Ivor Terry took over, his final approach was based on the wrong beacon and the aircraft crashed into the hillside.[2] Dorman had previously been suspended from the Royal Canadian Air Force for lack of ability, and had failed his United Kingdom instrument flying rating eight times.[6] As a result of the crash tougher regulations were introduced in the UK.

Despite the conclusions of the official Swiss report, one commentator, ex-KLM pilot Jan Bartelski, has argued that the pilots may not have been entirely to blame and there is a possibility that they were led off course by "ghost" beacon transmissions caused by electric power lines.[7]


  1. ^ "ASN Aircraft accident Vickers 952 Vanguard G-AXOP Basel/Mulhouse Airport (BSL)". Aviation Safety Network (ASN). Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Faith, Nicholas (1996). Black Box. Boxtree. p. 166. ISBN 0-7522-1084-X. 
  3. ^ "Fatal fatigue". Time. 23 April 1973. 
  4. ^ Hansard 11 April 1973
  5. ^ "Report No: 11/1975. Vickers Vanguard 952, G-AXOP. Report on the accident at Hochwald/Solothurn, Switzerland, on 10 April 1973". Air Accidents Investigation Branch. 1975. 
  6. ^ Forman, Patrick (1990). Flying into danger: the hidden facts about air safety. Heinemann. pp. 5, 111. ISBN 978-0-434-26864-1. 
  7. ^ Bartelski, Jan (2001) Disasters in the Air. Airlife Publishing Ltd. pp 208–229 ISBN 1-84037-204-4

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°27′15″N 7°37′24″E / 47.45417°N 7.62333°E / 47.45417; 7.62333