From Malcolm Smith Hochwald, Basle, Evening Post Wed April 11th 1973
There is a great sadness here today borne by the people of Switzerland like a heavy black cloak. I say I am from Bristol. “We are so sorry–it is terrible,” comes the reply from policeman, porter and taxi-man.
Particularly is the sentiment profound in this small village of Hochwald, on the slope of the mountain where the Vanguard from Bristol crashed with its fearful toll of dead and injured. Today the sky is beautifully clear and sunny. Yesterday was a white hell a snow blizzard with visibility quite out virtually zero, of character with the run of spring weather. Families And it was in these conditions that Vanguard Oscar Pappa came to a fearful end on the mountainside a 30-minute climb above my head. That anyone survived at all is almost a miracle. British families in Basle are looking after those who survived; the three local injured are in hospitals; the dead are being brought down and laid out in a hall at another village, Dornach, between here and Basle, which is 10 miles away. Hochwald is where the joint British and Swiss investigation team have set up headquarters school building. in the Today the aviation experts and the pathologists were up early pursuing their dedicated task. Hardly anything recognisable remains of the once proud Vanguard, except for a section of the tail fuselage which broke away and lies upside down. The remainder of the air- craft lies broken and bent in thousands of between the pines pieces the sharp edges of the metal softened by a blanket of snow a foot deep. Arriving here yesterday, even my taxi ride from Basle up miles of slithery winding road was an ordeal and a stiff test of skill for the driver. Still it was snowing hard.
On arrival at Hochwald, I found the storm had cut the electricity and only a few telephone lines were open and all reserved for emergency services. Last night torchlights gleamed as the rescue ser- vices toiled in the snow. In the school we sat by candlelight in conference British and Swiss investigators bent over maps of the area and sifting through a mounting pile of into the early hours. reports Today’s Basle paper, The Baser Nachrichten, displays graphic pictures. In hotel lobby and on street corners in the city itself, people are brought to a silent halt as they thumb the pages before about their daily tasks. going
The British community of Basle, on hearing the news on their radios, immediately offered all assistance. I spoke to the British Consul, Mr. Ivan May, who was full of praise for the local people the farmers of the region who took the survivors into their homes.