New York Times Report 1973

New York Times Report 1973

The New York Times reported on the crash

Source – New York Times © copyright [1973] New York Times

GENEVA, April 10—A British charter plane crashed during a heavy snowstorm this morning while trying to land at Basel, in northwestern Switzerland. More than 100 passengers and crewmen were killed.

Invicta, the charter company that operated the four‐engine Vanguard turboprop, put at 35 the number of survivors among the 145 passengers and crewmen it said the plane was flying from Bristol, England. However, Swiss officials investigating the crash said there were 39 known survivors and 105 dead or unaccounted fora total of 144.

Most of the passengers were British women and children on a one‐day visit to Switzerland, according to Invicta. Some passengers were said to be on a shopping trip to Lucerne, while others planned to visit the Swiss Industries Fair in Basel.

The plane was about to land at an airport on French territory that is shared by Basel and the nearby French town of Mulhouse.

Airport officials said that visibility, though poor, was sufficient for an instrument landing. After passing over the airport the Vanguard disappeared from radar screens.

The first report of the crash, in woods at an altitude of about 1,850 feet near the village of Hochwald, about eight miles south of Basel, was phoned to the police by a farmer. The police called on farmers to use their tractors to open paths to the site through snow nearly three feet deep.

A Swiss Army air‐defense unit was sent to aid rescue work, but helicopters could not land because of low visibility.

The plane was said to have flipped onto its back after a wing hit a tree, leaving some of the passengers hanging by their seat belts.

Most of the survivors, including some who were unhurt, were in the back of the plane, which remained largely intact. The impact was cushioned by trees and by the snow.

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