25th August 1934
Boys are hit by a plane on Jersey beach
Just one day after a plane taking off from West Park Beach was driven into the sea, another was driven into a wall. Two boys – ten-year-olds Raymond Potigny and Dennis Dutot were sitting on the wall at the time. Dennis, the son of a police sergeant, was killed on the spot. There were seven passengers aboard the aircraft at the time of the collision, but none was harmed.
Veered of its own accord
Speaking at the inquest into the accident, Jersey Airways pilot Wood claimed that the plane had veered to the right of its own accord so violently that he was unable to correct it in time to save the boys. However, the verdict eventually passed down placed them blame on him, not the Dragon aircraft.
The Belfast Telegraph reported on 15 November that the inspector concluded “errors of judgement arising from [the pilot’s] lack of experience in handling twin-engined aircraft” were the cause of the accident. The inspector noted that if he was unable to correct the swing, the pilot could instead have throttled down the engines “in time to prevent a collision with the sea wall”. The aircraft was, he said, in a thoroughly airworthy condition, aside from the damage caused by the crash itself.
Two holiday makers saved
It could have been far worse were it not for the quick reactions of two other beachgoers, both visitors from the mainland, who threw themselves to the ground as a wing of the aircraft passed over them.
Later in the day, a further two aircraft collided, fortunately causing only minor damage. Locals and visitors alike must have been glad by this point that the States of Jersey had, two weeks earlier, finally bought the land on which a new, dedicated aerodrome was to be built, at which point the days of taxiing across the sand would finally be over.
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