§ Sir N. Hulbert
asked the Secretary of State for Air if he will now make a statement in regard to the accident to the Valetta aircraft in Jordan.
Yes. The Valetta, carrying a crew of three and twenty-four Army passengers, took off from Aqaba at 10.23 local time on 17th April for Mafraq and Habbaniya. It was correctly loaded; visibility was good; and take-off was normal. The crash, which was reported by Jordan Arab Army personnel, took place about 10.30 some 20 miles N.N.W. of Aqaba on a plateau in mountainous country. The aircraft disintegrated and the wreckage caught fire. There were no survivors.
A Board of Inquiry found that the accident was due to the failure of the port main spar of the outer wing which had resulted in the disintegration of the wing round the fracture and damage to the rear fuselage and tail. Subsequent investigation has shown that the spar failure was due to over-stressing such as might result from the conditions of extreme air turbulence which are known to have existed in the area at the time. There was no indication of fatigue failure in the fracture.
I know that the House will join with me in expressing sympathy for the bereaved.