HC Deb 28 June 1939 vol 349 c444W
Mr. Palmer

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he can make any statement regarding the circumstances in which Headley Newton Vincent lost his life in the accident to the flying-boat "Connemara" on 19th June?

Sir M. Sueter

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether any experiments have been carried out at Farnborough to ascertain if there is any danger of electricity being generated by the rapid discharge of petrol through a pipe when refuelling flying-boats if the pipe is not properly earthed; whether the cause of the recent loss of the 24-ton flying-boat "Connemara" by fire at Hythe has been ascertained; and whether any loss of life occurred in this unfortunate accident?

Captain Balfour

Experiments at Farnborough and elsewhere have shown that electricity can be generated by the flow of petrol through a pipe and Royal Air Force regulations prescribe precautions which are to be taken to avoid the risk of fire when aircraft are being refuelled. Similar precautions are taken when Empire flying-boats are being refuelled.

The accident occurred when the flying-boat "Connemara" was being refuelled from a petrol barge. As the barge was subject to the provisions of the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act, 1928, an Inspector of the Home Office has been working in conjunction with an Inspector of Accidents of the Air Ministry in investigating the cause. So far as the aircraft is concerned, a report is now being prepared and I will see that a further statement is published as soon as possible. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sympathy with the relatives of Mr. Vincent.