HC Deb 20 December 1955 vol 547 c301W
97. Captain Duncan

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will make a statement on the accident at the Bell Rock Lighthouse, Inchcape Rock; and how long he expects the light to be out of action.

Mr. Ward

A Sycamore helicopter with a pilot and navigator left Leuchars at 9.35 a.m. on 15th December to carry out a sea winching exercise at Bell Rock Lighthouse. The wind speed was nine knots, visibility was good and there was little cloud. At about 10 a.m. the tail rotor of the aircraft struck the wind vane on top of the anemometer mounted at the top of the lighthouse. The aircraft immediately crashed into the sea.

The accident was witnessed by the crew of a second helicopter who immediately sent out a distress call and flew to the scene of the crash. In response to the distress call, three Ansons, one Chipmunk and two Sycamores, as well as a Royal Air Force rescue launch and three lifeboats searched the area. The body of the navigator was recovered by the Royal Air Force launch; the body of the pilot has not yet been found and he is presumed to have been drowned when the aircraft sank.

A court of inquiry is being held.

The lighthouse was damaged and the light was put out of action. I am informed that repairs will be done as soon as weather conditions allow a landing to be made on the Rock.

I should like to take this opportunity to express the sympathy of the Air Council with the relatives of the helicopter crew in their loss.