HC Deb 15 March 1967 vol 743 cc493-4

13 and 33. Mr. Rankin asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) whether he will publish the Second Report inquiring into the aircraft disaster at Munich Airport with a covering statement giving the reasons for the causes of the accident which are compatible with the evidence now available, in order to clear the pilot of blame for a disastrous loss of lives;

(2) whether he is now satisfied that the accident to Elizabethan G-ALZU at Munich on 6th February, 1958, was due to slush drag and not to ice on the wings; and if he will reject the findings of the second German report since they are in conflict with the conclusions of all the British experts.

53. Mr. Dobson asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will reject the conclusions of the second commission investigating the Munich air disaster; and whether he will accept instead the views of the British experts contained in that report.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

Following detailed analysis of the German report, my Department wrote to the German authorities regarding certain technical matters arising from it. Pending their consideration of these matters, it would be inappropriate for me to publish the report or make any statement on its contents.

Mr. Rankin

While I thank my hon. Friend for that Answer, would he not agree that the second report removes from the pilot the unjust charge made against him by the first, and that our experts at Farnborough unanimously agree that the accident to the aircraft was caused by slush drag and not by ice on the wings? Does he agree with that now?

Mr. Mallalieu

I am not in a position to say anything definite on the report, but we have queried a number of technical points arising from the second report and we are pressing the matter with the German authorities.

Mr. Dobson

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is a need to clear up the question of where the blame lies for that accident? It is grossly unfair on the pilot to be continually blamed, and for his relatives to be involved in this, over many years. I hope that my hon. Friend will press the matter strongly with the German authorities.

Mr. Mallalieu

I certainly agree that there is a great need from all points of view to clear up the confusion that has arisen about the causes of the accident. That is why we are pressing the German authorities very hard now.