On this day in history : 4th June 1967 – The Stockport air disaster occurs – when British Midlands flight G-ALHG crashes in Hopes Carr, killing 72 passengers and crew….

The aircraft involved, seen at Liverpool in February 1965 – Image credit : Ken Fielding via Flickr

The aircraft had been chartered by Arrowsmith Holidays Ltd and was carrying 5 members of crew and 79 holidaymakers home to Manchester Airport from Palma, Majorca…. The flight had left the Spanish island at 5am….

As the plane came into land at Manchester the first attempt had to be aborted as the pilot was unable to line up with the runway centreline and so called an overshoot…. Then as the aircraft circled around to try for a second time engines numbers 3 and 4 cut out as the plane reached over Stockport…. The aircraft crashed at 10.09am in the small open area of Hopes Carr, near to Stockport town centre…. Despite it being a heavily populated area thankfully there were no casualties on the ground….

Members of the public and the police managed to pull 12 people from the wreckage – but within a few minutes the mangled plane was engulfed in flames, killing all of those trapped inside who had survived the impact….

Being a Sunday the majority of people were not at work…. It is estimated some 10,000 turned up to view the scene – which hampered the rescue services…. 72 people out of the 84 onboard had been killed – Captain Henry Marlow survived but suffered amnesia…. An investigation concluded the engines had cut out due to fuel starvation, resulting in a loss of power and making the aircraft impossible to control…. Four months later it emerged that five days prior to the crash it had been noted that the aircraft was experiencing fuel problems….

Another contributing factor to the crash may have been pilot fatigue – as Captain Marlow had been on duty for some 13 hours, which was perfectly within the legal guidelines at the time…. He had already made a couple of minor errors during the flight before misjudging the first attempted landing – but it does have to be said he did at least have the foresight to divert over Hopes Carr hence avoiding residential areas….

Memorials at crash site – Image credit Zzztriple2000 – CC BY 3.0

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