4th November 1938
The Jersey Airport disaster
The disaster, which killed two crew, twelve passengers and a farmhand occurred half a kilometre east of the runway as a plane made its initial ascent. It hit the ground during its initial turn and “there was a sharp explosion,” reported the Gloucester Citizen, “and the passengers were blown out of the machine, mutilated almost beyond recognition.” The plane, a Jersey Airways de Havilland DH86 called St Catherine’s Bay, had come down at 10.52am in dense, low cloud after 30 seconds in the air on its way to Southampton.
An SOS went out across the island, asking all doctors, ambulances and fire engines to attend the scene.
In a 2009 retrospective, the Jersey Evening Post said, “numerous people witnessed the crash, but its cause remains a mystery.” Those who saw it happen reported the engines revving furiously and, says the Jersey Evening Post, “There were suggestions that the pilot, AGM Cary, who had previously been the private pilot of the Viceroy of India, had been trying to make a forced landing but failed to touch down safely because the plane’s undercarriage hit the ground and then ploughed catastrophically through the hedge of the first field.”
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