HC Deb 11 February 1953 vol 511 c40W
86. Brigadier Clarke

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, if he will make a statement regarding the explosion that occurred on H.M.S. "Indomitable."

Mr. J. P. L. Thomas

On 3rd February. a petrol explosion occurred in Her Majesty's ship "Indomitable" while aircraft were being refueled on the flight deck during exercises off Malta. I regret that two ratings were killed, four have died as a result of their injuries, one is missing, presumed killed, and 3 officers and 29 other ratings were injured. I should like to take this opportunity of expressing sympathy, on behalf of the Board of Admiralty, with the relatives of those who lost their lives and with those who were injured.

There was considerable structural and electrical damage to the ship, but she will be operational on completion of temporary repairs at Malta.

The explosion was caused by a leakage of petrol that caught fire. There is no question of sabotage. As is customary, a board of inquiry has been held but, as it took place only yesterday, I have not yet received the report.