From MALCOLM SMITH Hochwald, Saturday
The snow is melting now from the tracks leading to the crash scene of Vanguard Oscar Pappa where I stand and contemplate in silence. Overhead, a helicopter carrying members of the investigation team flits into view momentarily between the tips of the pines. It is the only noise which breaks the stillness, for the investigators are aloft re-tracing and photographing the actual line of flight of the Vanguard as it clipped the tree tops just five days ago, nosed into the mountainside and somersaulted over.
Plastic tapes now loop from one pole to another and mark the exact scene of the search among the twisted metal, which is now almost clear of snow and which, starting on Monday, the Swiss authorities will begin to have cleared to a hangar for re-assembly. And as the snow melts, so the secrets begin more and more to be revealed. As men of B.A.C. and Rolls-Royce, the team special investigating from Britain and the Swiss authorities, put the pieces together instruments are likely, I understand, to raise some interesting questions. The question is being raised here as to whether Zurich radar, when having Oscar Pappa under surveillance, did not give warning to Basle Airport control tower that they had an aircraft on overshoot and heading for high land. And whether Basle, in turn, acted upon this information and whether they gave warning to the Vanguard captain. And whether there was not, in fact, two “lost” minutes during which Basle did not pass a warning to the pilot of the ahead of him. danger
The Swiss and British teams are expected to be engaged for a month before the final accident report is out. But already it is speculated that the airframe and engines will be cleared of any blame. Even so, just to establish this year, every last effort is being made to preserve any faction of metal which can be removed from the scene. In Hochwald, the investigators confer either in the school building or in the small restaurant.