Comet – Accidents and Incidents
Accidents & Incidents
Comet 4 1959-1963
Comet 4 1964-1971
- BOAC G-ALYP Yoke Peter (lost at Elba),
BOAC G-ALYV Yoke Victor (lost at Calcutta)
BOAC G-ALYY Yoke Yoke (lost at Stromboli)
BOAC G-ALYZ Yoke Zulu (lost at Rome)
BOAC G-ALYR (severely damaged beyond repair Calcutta, India)
Canadian Pacific Airlines CF-CUN ‘Empress of Hawaii’ (lost at Karachi)
Union Aéromaritime de Transport F-BGSC (written of Dakar, Senegal)
BOAC Comet 4 G-APDF (incident Beirut, Lebanon)
BOAC Comet 4 G-APDA (incident Calcutta, India)
BOAC Comet 4 G-APDB (incident Idlewild Airport)
Aerolineas Argentinas Comet 4 LV-AHP (forced landing Asuncion, Paraguay)
BOAC Comet 4 G-APDL (incident Ciampino Airport, Rome)
Aerolineas Argentina Comet 4 LV-AHO (incident Ezeira, Buenos Aires)
BOAC Comet 4 G-APDS (incident Barajas Airport, Madrid)
United Arab Airlines Comet 4C (incident at Benina)
BOAC Comet 4 G-APDM (incident on approach to Fiumicino Airport, Rome)
Aerolineas Argentinas. Comet 4 LV-AHR (lost on takeoff from Viracopas Airport, Sao Paulo)
BEA Comet 4B G-ARJM (lost on takeoff from Ankara Airport in Turkey)
United Arab Airlines Comet 4C. SU-AMW (lost on Khao Yai Mountain, Thailand)
BOAC Comet 4 G-APDM (incident belly landing at Stansted)
King Saud Comet 4C SA-R-7 (lost Monte Matto, Italian Alps)
United Arab Airlines Comet 4C SU-ALD (lost near Bombay)
U.A.A. Comet 4C SU-ALM (incident at Bengazi Airport)
BOAC Comet 4 G-APDL (incident on approach to Nairobi Airport)
Malaysian Airways Comet 4 G-APDH (incident landing at Singapore)
BEA Comet 4B G-ARCO (Charlie Oscar) (lost near Nicosia)
M.E.A’s 4Cs OD-ADR, OD-ADQ and OD-ADS (destroyed by Israelis)
United Arab Airlines Comet 4C SU-ANI (incident landing at Addis Ababa)
United Arab Airlines Comet 4C SU-ALE (incident forced landing at Munich)
Dan-Air, Comet 4 G-APDN (lost Monteseny Mountains, nr. Barcelona, Spain)
Dan-Air, London G-APDL (incident wheels-up landing at Woolsington, Newcastle)
United Arab Airlines Comet 4C. SU-ALC (lost at Ben Gashir, Libya)
For those not listed under the Airline
Listed here are a number of miscellaneous incidents involving Comets – some of which are not covered elsewhere in the book whereas others are referred to only briefly. They are arranged in chronological order for ease of reference.
April 9th BOAC Comet 4 G-APDF
‘DF was forced to make an emergency landing after takeoff from Beirut International Airport. Most of the damage sustained was to the wing structure and around the main undercarriage wheel-well and occurred because the inner rear tyre burst.
This unusual occurrence was attributed to the overheating of the brakes during a previous takeoff attempt only minutes before. The previous attempt had to be abandoned because Capt. Beauchamp suspected ‘over-speeding’ of no.2 engine. Having checked the condition of number 2 engine, which was found to be OK, eleven minutes later the second takeoff was made without incident.
However some 9 minutes into the flight the tyre burst causing damage to the wing and adversely affecting controllability. The captain decided to return to the airport immediately and, because the landing was over weight, four more tyre burst on touchdown and a fire started in the main-gear assemblies. Fortunately the crew of nine were unhurt, as were the 64 passengers who continued their journey to London in a relief Comet.
June 7th BOAC Comet 4
over-ran the end of the runway when landing at Montevideo. No one was injured and no damage was found.
June 8th BOAC Comet 4 G-APDA.
‘DA was involved in an accident which resulted, subsequently, in a recommendation that the approach speed of Comets be increased by 5 knots.
The Official Report concluded: ‘The report of the Director of Aeronautical Inspection C.A.D. on the accident of BOAC G-APDA at Calcutta’s Dum Dum Airport on June 8th was accepted by the Government.’
The report said that the aeroplane was operating the Tokyo – London service – as flight SP 931 – and was on approach to the airport with the aid of I.L.S. The early stage of the approach to runway 19L proceeded without incident, however turbulence was encountered necessitating increased power to stabilise the fluctuating airspeed at the recommended figure. The increased power however was applied too late with the result that there was a sudden sinking of the aircraft and an impact with trees could not be avoided. Thereafter partial loss of lateral control was experienced as considerable damage had been caused to the flaps. Missed approach procedure was then successfully carried out. The next approach was made to runway 01R. The aircraft was then being flown by visual reference. During this approach the aircraft again impacted the trees as due allowance was not made for the higher stalling speed of the damaged aircraft.
Missed approach procedure was again initiated and the aircraft responded well. Further damage had, however, been sustained. A circuit was executed and the landing, during the third attempt, was successful but the damaged aircraft failed to pull up within the available space on the wet runway because of the higher speeds (at) which the approach had to be made. No injury was sustained by the 44 passengers or nine members of the crew on board. The aircraft was, however, substantially damaged.
The report concluded that the accident was attributed to an error of judgement on the part of the flying crew in not applying increased power when approaching to land in turbulent conditions. The subsequent power increase was applied too late to prevent the aircraft, which was being flown at a speed below the speed recommended for turbulent conditions, from sinking and striking trees.’
June 21st BOAC Comet 4 G-APDB
‘DB, was one of the Corporations first two Comets. During its final approach to Idlewild Airport with a ‘displaced threshold’ (i.e. off track), it struck a 10-12ft high blast-fence which was located 65ft short of the beginning of the paved area of the runway. Strangely the landing was in daylight and perfect visibility.
Damage was caused to the Comets flaps and main undercarriage but the aircraft landed safely and there were no injuries to any of the 33 passengers or crew of ten. BOAC’s own investigation attributed the accident to pilot error, but it was acknowledged that a contributing cause was a sudden down draught which was of unexpected severity.
August 27th Aerolineas Argentinas Comet 4 LV-AHP
LV-AHP was badly damaged when it made a forced landing in bad weather coming down 5½ miles from the threshold while on an instrument approach. The aircraft was approaching Asuncion, Paraguay and was carrying 54 passengers and a crew of eleven. It was on a scheduled flight from Buenos Aires to New York. There were two fatalities – Capt. S.J. Llense – one of A.A’s most experienced Pilots – was killed in the impact and an elderly woman passenger died of shock.
Initially the possibility of salvage was discussed but the wings and nose were reported to be badly damaged. Shortly after the accident Snr. Josè Guiraldes, President of Aerolineas, said, “the accident the cause of which is not yet known could have been much worse but for the ruggedness of the Comet and the skill of the pilot.”
No official report was issued on this accident though.
September 4th BOAC Comet 4
Another Comet suffered a burst tyre just after takeoff from Beirut International Airport. Further damage was sustained to the undercarriage during the emergency landing.
December 23rd BOAC Comet 4 G-APDL
This incident happened while ‘DL was on a flight from London and was approaching Ciampino Airport at Rome. The crew experienced difficulty obtaining reliable ADF (Automatic Direction Finding) indicators from the terminal. Bearings from a MF non-direction beacon were therefore used to assist in positioning the aircraft on its approach. The aeroplane finally touched down but unfortunately with it’s gear retracted! The weather was cloudy at the time. BOAC’s investigation attributed the accident to pilot error – albeit with some distraction caused by the failure to locate the ADF.
BOAC staff were assisted by de Havilland’s service and production engineers and together they succeeded in repairing the damaged aircraft in only 45 days – it was a remarkable achievement credited, in no small part, to the strength of the Comet’s airframe. The main damage was found to be to the centre section and wing stubs and, to a lesser extent, there was also damage to the fuselage. The undercarriage doors, engine cowling doors and inner flaps were all replaced. All the engines were changed as a precautionary measure because it was not possible to examine them for shock-loading damage on-site.
February 20th Aerolineas Argentina Comet 4
LV-AHO ‘Lucero de la Tarde’. This aircraft was on a training flight. On landing at Ezeira, Buenos Aires a heavy impact with the runway forced the main gear into the wing structure, AHO bounced and came to rest a few hundred feet down the runway. This resulted in the total loss of the aircraft.
March 14th BOAC Comet 4 G-APDS
On the night of the 14th March ‘DS was damaged after hitting high ground whilst circling on its final approach to land at Barajas Airport, Madrid.
The impact took place about two miles from runway 23 at which point the aircraft struck the top of a ridge – known locally as Pico del Guarda and is situated in the Paracuellos Hills – 345ft above airport level. In the impact damage was sustained to both main bogie assemblies and the port pod tank was torn off. Although engines number 2 & 3 were almost completely inoperative the aircraft continued to fly for another 13 minutes and made an I.L.S. approach to runway 33 landing on the nosewheel and two main undercarriage stumps – miraculously the pilot made a perfect touchdown and there were no injuries to those onboard.
Needles to say there was extensive damage to the Comet. The left-hand gear strut was completely broken off at wing level, and the right strut broken off at a point 5ft below the wing. The left flap was partly torn off, and the right flap was partly torn loose. The left wing fuel tank was torn off and left the wing-tip extensively damaged. The upper proportion of left exhaust nozzle was completely destroyed. The Spanish Director General of Civil Aviation, whose report was published in Nov. 1960, gave the probable cause as ‘while approaching the airport the aircraft was flown at an altitude lower than the spot height indicating the position of the Paracuellos Hills.’ Succinct!!!!
August 22nd BOAC Comet 4
At Cairo: The aircrafts port main undercarriage wheel entered a excavation in the runway during its take-off run. There was no serious damage to the aircraft.
December 24th United Arab Airlines Comet 4C
At Benina the aircraft over-ran on landing and its nose-wheel collapsed.
January 25th BOAC Comet 4 G-APDM
‘DM was operating BOAC’s London – Johannesburg via Rome, Khartoum, Nairobi and Salisbury. Captained by R. E. Harwood the aircraft was presumed to be on approach to Fiumicino Airport, Rome but was actually some 60 miles from where it should have been when at between 20.33 and 20.25 hours it struck treetops at Case Nuove, San Martino in Viterbo, Italy. The impact point was at a height of 1,740 ft.
Damage sustained: one flap was sheared in two places and branches of a tree were found in the compressor inlets of three engines. Despite this damage the Comet flew on and was successfully landed. None of the 44 passengers (including Mr Duncan Sands former Minister of Aviation) or crew were hurt.
The Italian investigation finally issued a report and concluded that the cause of the accident could be attributed to a number of factors. For example there had not been any crew familiarization flights to what was a new airport (open for only 10 days at the time of the accident), further the aircraft did not fly according to the correct approach chart, it seems that two radio compasses were tuned to the same frequency thus any error of the readings would not be obvious, and these erroneous readings were acted upon. The radio compasses had been used without recourse to external observations and measurement, there was a lack of communication by the co-pilot and at the same time interference from a transmitter in the Prague area with correct the radio beacon.
In other words, despite compounding circumstances, the investigators found that the accident was attributable to pilot error. The crew were disciplined and the captain deprived of seniority.
November 23rd Aerolineas Argentinas. Comet 4 LV-AHR
‘Arco Iris’ formerly named ‘Alborada’. This aircraft crashed about 1 mile from Viracopas Airport, Sao Paulo when it hit trees shortly after take-off. It was a total loss but no report was issued into the accident.
December 21st BEA Comet 4B G-ARJM
‘JM was BEA’s first Comet loss. It crashed into the suburb of Esenboga after takeoff from Ankara Airport in Turkey en route for Nicosia. On hitting the ground the plane burst into flames.
The crew of seven was led by Capt. K.J. Ruddlesdin – ex-RAF and who joined BEA in 1946 – all were killed along with 20 of the 27 passengers. The seven non-fatalities were thrown clear of the wreckage – a miraculous escape.
An Investigation team from the Turkish aviation authority found that the disaster had been caused by the direction/horizon indicator pitch pointer being obstructed. This led to the Captain setting for too steep a climb and as a result stalled the aeroplane. At this point the aircraft had only achieved some 400 feet (122m) in height.
In January 1963 Ministry of Aviation published a report on the Turkish Investigating Commissions investigation. It concluded that a loose screw jammed the pitch pointer of the director horizon and led the Captain to apply much more elevator than was required for the normal climb attitude of 20° with the result that an angle of about 45° was reached. The aircraft stalled at a height of about 450ft. and sank to the runway and crashed in level attitude. The aircraft was almost completely destroyed by impact and fire. 27 of the 34 people onboard were killed. Interestingly the report concluded too that the three pilots might have survived if they had used the shoulder straps of their safety harnesses.
December 27th U.A.A. Comet 4C
At Geneva this aircraft was reported to have struck snow bank during its landing run
May 13th Olympic Airways Comet 4B
The 4B veered off the runway on landing. The aircraft was damaged but there is no report on how extensive this was.
July 19th United Arab Airlines Comet 4C. SU-AMW
SU-AMW crashed 100 Kms N/E of Bangkok into jungle on the Khao Yai Mountain, Thailand. It was some 50 miles (80Km) from the airport when it hit high ground during a let-down in a heavy rainstorm and at night. 18 passenger and a crew of eight were lost. There was no official report.
August 3rd BOAC Comet 4 G-APDM
‘DM made a belly landing at Stansted. It was repaired and put back into service.
March 20th King Saud Comet 4C SA-R-7
SA-R-7 crashed on the slopes of Monte Matto in the Italian Alps while letting down at night. The cause was to remain a mystery and months after the accident no light had been shed on the events leading up to it. Early reports, attributed to King Saud, indicated that the aircraft was sabotaged. These reports were later denied.
The Comet was commanded by John Hanslip, of de Havilland, and was on a flight from Geneva to Nice with members of the King’s retinue. It had taken off from Geneva at 02.55 hours (local time) and was in contact with Nice tower at 03.22. It was expected to land 8 minutes later. Two other members of the crew of nine were also de Havilland employees – Kenneth Rouse, flight engineer, and Gordon Bryan, service engineer. Ironically none of the de Havilland staff had to be on the flight – all had volunteered at the last minute to do so.
Early reports said the wreckage had been sighted a few miles inside the Italian frontier near the village of Entraque and that all onboard had been killed. Italian attempts to reach the wreckage had been hampered by bad weather.
In May 1963 it was reported that part of the tail of King Saud’s was found in snow on April 28th in the Italian Alps at Valleta about 2 miles from Terme de Valdiere, near the French boarder. It was believed that the rest of the wreckage was under 30 foot of snow – it having been covered by an avalanche after the crash.
July 28th United Arab Airlines Comet 4C SU-ALD
15 miles from Bombay SU-ALD crashed into sea when on night approach to the airport in heavy, turbulent bad weather. 55 passengers and the crew of eight were lost. The Comet was en route from Bangkok to Bombay.
September 12th U.A.A. Comet 4C SU-ALM
SU-ALM struck the runway lights when coming into land at Bengazi Airport on September 12th. There was damage to the flap and number one fuel tank and to the belly of the aircraft. There were no injuries.
February 3rd BOAC Comet 4 G-APDL
After a similar incident in December 1959 this Comet once more hit the ground and survived to fly again! This time it struck the ground 9 miles short of Nairobi Airport on 2nd February 1964 whilst on approach. It made a safe landing. The aircraft was London bound from Salisbury and was carrying 62 passengers and a crew of 7. It initially touched down in a game reserve during the night approach. No one was hurt but as usual the crew were suspended pending results of the investigation. The commander was Capt. A. Woolcott. ‘DL was given a heavy landing check and found to be undamaged. The aircraft was then flown to London for a more detailed examination.
Although no official report was published, following the accident by the Directorate of Civil Aviation in Nairobi or BOAC, Capt. Alfred Woolcott was dismissed and F/O James Nightingale, who would have been monitoring the approaches, was reprimanded and deprived of two years seniority. These actions indicated that pilot error was to blame. It seemed from the evidence that the accident was caused by an incorrect altimeter QFE setting for landing at Nairobi’s Embakasi Airport which is at 5300ft.
March 21st Malaysian Airways Comet 4 G-APDH
‘DH was on lease from BOAC and was being used to operate a regular Malaysian Airways service from Hong Kong to Singapore. It suffered a collapsed right undercarriage during a heavy landing at Singapore at 4.35 p.m. During the landing the right main undercarriage broke away and the Malaysian Captain, with great skill, kept the starboard wing off the runway until the last moment when it made contact rupturing the pod tank spilling fuel. The fuel ignited and set fire to a large proportion of the aircraft. Twenty two of the 70 passengers -including two stewardesses – were injured. In the subsequent fire the aircraft was badly damaged and thus was considered a write-off.
Despite the circumstances there were no serious injuries which was said to be thanks to the prompt action of the Singapore Airport services. A detailed investigation found no evidence of a crack in the under carriage which broke away but, as a precaution, all Comet undercarriage were inspected by ultrasonic testing after 100hrs or at Check 1.
April 22nd U.A.A. Comet 4
On landing at Khartoum the starboard undercarriage collapsed.
November 6th BEA Comet 4B
The aircraft slid off the runway at Màlaga, Spain whilst landing in heavy rain and in a strong cross wind. The undercarriage was damaged.
no incidents reported.
no incidents reported.
October 12th BEA Comet 4B G-ARCO (Charlie Oscar)
On 13th October 1967 the country awoke to newspaper headlines, ’66 dead after Comet crash in sea – routine message then silence’.
The headlines referred to a BEA. Comet 4B G-ARCO which had left Heathrow, London at 22.45.BST on Wednesday the 11th October and reached Athens at 02.15.BST on the 12th. The aircraft, with a further 27 passengers onboard, left Athens at 03.31am with an estimated time of arrival (ETA) at Nicosia at 04.43am. It had apparently passed over the Rhodes beacon on time, on course, and at normal height.
A few minutes later at 04.17am the Comet contacted Nicosia air traffic control to make its routine position check – it had transmitted its final message…. ‘Beeline Beeline Charlie Oscar…..’. There had been no hint of a distress call at this stage.
The crew of Charlie Oscar comprised of Capt. Gordon Blackwood of Bracknell, Berks, who flew this route about 5 times each month. He had joined BEA from the Royal Air Force in 1946. His number two was Dennis Palmer who, unusually, had obtained a B.A Degree at Cambridge University as a Research Chemist before turning his attention to flying some ten years earlier. He came from Goring on Thames, Oxfordshire. The First Officer was Michael Thomas of Farnborough, Hampshire who also joined BEA from the RAF – some 10 years earlier.
When the aircraft became overdue an RAF Hastings aircraft took off from Akrotiri, Cyprus to search for it and two Greek Airforce C47 Transports from Crete also joined the search. Flight Lieutenant Dennis King Captain of the Hastings spent 5 hours at the scene.
The search was hampered by high seas. But eventually the Hastings sighted wreckage at 6.34am local time about 15 to 20 miles S/W of the island of Kastelorizo which was some 170 miles west of Nicosia. Bodies were seen but no sign of life. All aircraft and ships in the vicinity were put on alert. In the hope of finding survivors, and to assist in the Investigation that was to follow, an RAF paramedic team was flown out. Eventually all bodies were recovered.
Meanwhile senior BEA officials flew to Rhodes to begin the Inquiry. Leading them was Capt. William Baillie, Airline General Manager (Flight) with Dr. Frank Preston and Dennis Erinjes. It was soon realised that where the Comet had plunged into the sea the water depth was between six and seven thousand feet (1828-2132m) so there was little hope of recovering the aircraft flight recorder. Before flying from London to Nicosia Capt. Baillie was quoted, “It is the most amazing type of accident of this day and age because it happened from a cruising altitude.”
Charlie Oscar was thought to have flown some 15,000 hours and according to the Civil Aviation Authorities annual report in March of 1967 it had then reached 13767 hours. It was described as being, “still in the prime of life” by a BEA official in London and he disclosed that there were no special overhauls due, “just the routine servicing”. Officials of the airline also said that there were no plans to ground its Comet fleet as BOAC did after the earlier Comet 1 accidents.
The Board of Trade investigator was Mr Norman Head and he flew to Athens to co-ordinate the investigation. Gradually new facts emerged. A Turkish military radar operator was said to have been an ‘eye-witness’ to the accident. He was watching flight movements from a secret monitoring station. His American made equipment had apparently tracked Charlie Oscar and noted it as being on course and on time. Suddenly the ‘blip’ disappeared from his screen and the time it disappeared was logged.
Further it was found that many of the bodies had been recovered wearing inflated life-jackets – indeed some still had their small red position indicator lights on. The Investigators were also trying to establish the significance of the fact there were two positive reports of sighting of wreckage and bodies some 16 miles apart. One came from the Navarion search vessel and the other from the RAF Hastings. Reports had indicated that the Navarion had spotted the tail section of the Comet reasonably intact and that it had contained several of the victims. Unfortunately after the removal of the bodies the tail sank. Capt. Baillie observed that this indicated that the plane was not attempting a ditching in the sea, “I believe it was out of control and coming down more or less in one piece”. Capt. R.T. Merrifield, chairman of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA.) observed, “if people were wearing life-jackets there must have been some time to don them … yet if they did there should have been time for a radio distress signal”.
One theory for the Comets silence after the routine message may have been that the Capt. may have thrown over the electrical master switch because of smoke in the cockpit, that would have cut out all electrical circuits including the radio.
Rival theories then began to be advanced for the disaster. Were there parallels with the Comet 1 accidents in the 1950s and a structural defect causing disruption of the pressure cabin downed the aeroplane? Were there atmospheric reasons for the loss as was thought to have been the cause of the loss of BOAC G-ALYV climbing after takeoff from Calcutta in 1953?
Airline crews reported that the remote area where Charlie Oscar went down had a reputation for freak electrical storms, noted particularly over the preceding few days. Official sources at this stage refuse to theorize about the disaster other than to confirm that the aircraft was thought to have disintegrated in mid-air. However reports that the jet may have been flying in unstable air masses, with scattered thunder, caused experts in London to question whether the Comet had met “such fantastically strong turbulence” that it broke up instantly. Such high speed jet streams, were not uncommon in the Mediterranean.
There was also speculation about sabotage. The answer would undoubtedly lie at the bottom of the sea in the red box flight recorder – only fitted to the aircraft in January of 1966 and in which a replacement cassette inserted only 5 weeks before. BEA officials commented that they did not fit flight recorders that were capable of blowing themselves out of the aircraft on impact because they did not want any explosive mechanisms on board. There could be no danger of it going off inadvertently and rupturing the structure.
The rumours about sabotage were fuelled when it became known that General George Grivas, who was the Commander of the Cyprus Armed Forces (forces that were engaged in a vicious civil war in Cyprus between Turkish and Greek Cypriots), had arrived at Nicosia the previous night with his wife from Athens. Were saboteurs expecting Grivas to be aboard Charlie Oscar? Passenger lists disclosed that one of the victims was Mr Solomdu, Private Secretary to Mr Kyprinou – the Cyprus Prime Minister. Was there a political motive?
In London an aviation expert considering the possibility of sabotage said that the electronics bay of the Comet was next to a luggage compartment forward of the wing – a bomb placed in a trunk here could cause much damage to the electrical system and, if it did so, almost certainly, silence the radio (this is exactly what happened to the ill-fated Pan. American Boeing 747 PA-103 in December 1988 when a Semtex bomb is believed to have been placed in the forward baggage hold).
First reports, however, from the RAF pathologists based in Rhodes were that almost certainly the aircraft broke up in flight. Their official report would not be published until the air accident investigation was completed but there was no evidence on the bodies of fire, smoke or explosion – 32 of the 51 bodies recovered were wearing life-jackets.
The initial pathologists report was, however, misleading. It is interesting to note the comments of F. D. Walker who, in press reports, was said to have taken charge of the investigation. Dr. Walker (former head of Structures Dept. RAE, Farnborough) said, “It should have been the safest aircraft that has ever been made.” Dr Walker had given evidence to the Court of Inquiry into the Loss of Comet Yoke Peter and Yoke Yoke in 1954 (which see). He went on to say that as a result of the Inquiry findings, “the Comet 4B became robust, immensely powerful and safe”. So what brought it down?
Eventually some ‘flotsam’ including seat cushions surfaced. These showed signs of being punctured and blackened. Back at RAE, Farnborough mockups were made of the Comet cabin and various explosive devices tested to evaluate their effects on the cabin structure and furnishings. These produced results comparable with the damage seen on the wreckage. So without any other evidence to indicate other causes it was concluded that some form of explosive device must have caused the loss of Charlie Oscar.
The Inquiry report merely stated that, “the aircraft broke up in the air following detonation of a high-explosive device in the cabin”. Without recovering the wreckage and flight recorder, an impossible task at the time, there could be no other conclusion.
December 28th M.E.A’s 4Cs OD-ADR, OD-ADQ and OD-ADS
were all written of when blown-up by Israeli Commandos at Beirut International Airport in a revenge attack.
no incidents reported
January 14th The last civil Comet 4C SU-ANI
SU-ANI – belonging to U.A.A. – crashed when a wing struck the ground whilst landing at Addis Ababa. The aircraft had descended on approach but emerged from cloud to the right of the runway. Corrective action resulted in too steep an approach, stall and the left wing hit the ground.
February 9th United Arab Airlines Comet 4C SU-ALE
SU-ALE made a forced landing at Munich when fire broke out in the port wing shortly after takeoff. Carrying 14 passengers and a crew of ten – eight passengers were injured slightly and four were treated in hospital for minor injuries. The Comet was en route for Athens and Cairo and had been delayed at the airport for two hours. It came down only 400yds from runway some 150yds from suburban homes. Sabotage was quickly ruled out. Visibility at Munich was poor and the runway covered with slush and melted snow at the time of the accident.
July 3rd Dan-Air, Comet 4 G-APDN
For details – Dan-Air
October 7th Dan-Air, London G-APDL
This unfortunate aeroplane was finally written off after a wheels-up landing at Woolsington, Newcastle on 7th October 1970. Damage was considered beyond repair.
January 2nd United Arab Airlines Comet 4C. SU-ALC
Hit sand dunes at approx. 400ft on approach, approximately 10 Km from Tripoli Airport, Libya at Ben Gashir during a sandstorm with the loss of eight passengers and eight crew.