§ Mr. Churchill
(by Private Notice) asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation whether he had any statement to make on the air disaster at Llandow, Glamorgan, yesterday.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Mr. Beswick)
My noble Friend asks me to say that he cannot adequately express his regret at this tragic happening of yesterday. Our hearts 752 go out to Wales and the Welsh people in their hour of sorrow. The victims have been taken from us at a moment of joyous homecoming after a hard-earned holiday. The sudden bitter contrast between gaiety and desolation must make it particularly hard to bear.
The aircraft was an Avro Tudor V operated by Fairflight, Limited, and was returning on a charter flight from Dublin, when it crashed close to the Royal Air Force Aerodrome at Llandow. There were 83 people on board, including five crew. There were only three survivors, of whom one is dangerously ill.
A preliminary investigation is already proceeding on the spot, and the House will not expect me to comment in any way on the causes of this accident. Moreover, in view of the serious loss of life my noble Friend has decided that there shall be a public court of inquiry.
I am sure that the whole House will join me when I express on behalf of my noble Friend and the Government our profound grief at what has occurred, and our very deep sympathy with the bereaved relatives on this great loss.
§ Sir Ronald Ross
Will the hon. Gentleman take note of the particular distress felt in Northern Ireland at this tragic event to those who had been such welcome guests in Belfast on Saturday?
If a public inquiry is to be held, will the hon. Gentleman take into account the Debate which took place last autumn, when an assurance was given that the method of carrying on public inquiries would be investigated and probably altered?
§ Mr. Beswick
I have no doubt that my noble Friend will take into account all relevant considerations.
§ Sir Hugh O'Neill
Can the Minister say whether there are other machines of this type carrying passengers at the present time?