HC Deb 10 June 1959 vol 606 cc981-2
46. Sir L. Heald

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will now state the composition and terms of reference of the independent body being set up to review Captain Thain's representations about the Munich air crash.

Mr. Hay

My right hon. Friend has now arranged that the independent review into representations by Captain Thain shall be conducted by Mr. E. S. Fay, Q.C., Chairman, Professor A. R. Collar, and Captain R. P. Wigley, Assessors. Since the terms of reference are rather long, I will, with permission, circulate them in the Official Report. The date for the hearing will be arranged by the Chairman of the reviewing body after consulting Captain Thain and his representatives.

Sir L. Heald

Is this investigation taking place under any statutory regulation or rule, or is it on an ad hoc basis of officials and witnesses? Secondly, will the proceedings be public and the report published?

Mr. Hay

I am advised that these are ad hoc proceedings which have been instituted in this rather difficult case. In regard to the second part of the question, we feel that this is a matter for the reviewing body itself to consider, after hearing the views of Captain Thain and his representatives.

Mr. Remnant

The hon. Gentleman did not say whether the report would be published, but will he give us an assurance that Captain Thain will be able to call all the evidence he wishes?

Mr. Hay

He will, of course, be able to call any witnesses and put forward his views. As to the publication of the report, I am afraid I should need notice of that question. We shall give every consideration to the question of publication.

Mr. Beswick

When the hon. Gentleman is considering the form of the inquiry, will he keep in touch with the British Air Line Pilots' Association?

Mr. Hay

Yes. We keep in touch with that body and bear in mind the representations it made at a very early stage.

Following are the terms of reference of the independent review: To consider the representations made by and on behalf of Captain Thain with regard to the accident to B.E.A. Elizabethan G-ALZU at Munich on 6th February, 1958: and. having regard to those representations and to the Report of the German Commission of Inquiry on the said accident, to report to the Minister whether or not in their opinion Captain Thain took sufficient steps
  1. (a) to satisfy himself that the wings of the aircraft were free from ice and snow;
  2. (b) to ascertain in the conditions prevailing at the time the runway was fit for use; and
  3. (c) to ascertain the cause of the difficulties encountered on the first two attempts to take off before making a third attempt.
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