HC Deb 10 May 1950 vol 475 cc366-7
35. Mr. Ralph Morley

asked the Secretary of State for Air why the only organised search made for the missing yacht "Kit," with four young Southampton yachtsmen on board, was carried out by aeroplanes chartered by certain newspapers; and why the Royal Air Force did not assist in this organised search.

Mr. Crawley

The Royal Air Force was informed about the missing yacht in a message from the Southampton police on the morning of 13th April, and instructions were immediately given for R.A.F. aircraft from Calshot to make a search of the area in which it was thought the yacht might be. The search was repeated on the following day.

Mr. Morley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a representative of the Air Ministry stated to the Press at 11.30 a.m. on the material date that no organised search had been undertaken by the Royal Air Force? May I ask why the headquarters of the R.A.F. in Plymouth were not contacted, since they had suitable planes for the purpose, and whether it is not a fact that the only organised search which was undertaken was by a plane privately chartered by the "Southern Daily Echo" and the London "Evening Standard"?

Mr. Crawley

I think my hon. Friend is under a misapprehension. The R.A.F. actually did more than it was asked to do. It was only asked by the police to keep a look out for this yacht during any flying it was doing. What happened was that training aircraft pilots kept a look out and that a special Sunderland went and searched on two days running.