Six Airmen killed and Eighteen Injured

Six Airmen killed and Eighteen Injured

Sunday 6th June 1952.

A board of investigation will sit at the American airbase at Burtonwood, near Warrington, to-morrow to determine the cause of the crash on Saturday night between a Neptune naval patrol bomber and a Dakota aircraft in which six airmen were killed and eighteen injured. A seventh airman is missing, believed killed, and last night the wreckage of the burned-out planes was still being searched for his body. The eighteen injured are in the base hospital suffering from burns and shock and one of them is stated to be critically ill.

The Neptune, with 25 airmen on board, had set off from Burtonwood for Iceland, but had turned back because of bad weather. As it came into the base it touched down in a field short of the runway, ploughed through another field, crossed Burtonwood Road, and crashed into the Dakota, which, with ten men on board, was warming up for a return flight to Manston, Kent. The fire could be seen for miles. It was not until early this morning that the flames were finally put out.

It was discovered later that none of the men in the Neptune had been killed, deaths being confined to the Dakota. The Vicar of Burtonwood (the Rev. T. Cowing), who was called to the base, stayed for more than an hour administering the sacraments to dying airmen.

The base hospital the biggest of its kind in Britain, was able to deal with the emergency cases. All doctors, nurses, and medical orderlies have been on duty over the week-end. For hours after the crash air police with torches searched fields and hedgerows for any men who might have been thrown from the in-coming plane.

The Guardian, Mon, 07 Jan 1952·Page 5

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