Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives
Bureau d'Archives des Accidents d'Avions

Crash of a Vickers 607 Valetta T.3 near RAF Bovingdon: 16 killed

Accident description

  • Jan 6, 1954 at 1720 LT
  • WJ474
  • Takeoff (climb)
  • Military
  • Yes
  • Airport (less than 10 km from airport)
  • Bovingdon – Thorney Island
  • 599
  • 22APR1952
  • Bovingdon AFB, Hertfordshire
  • UK
  • Europe
  • 4
  • 4
  • 13
  • 12
  • 0
  • 16
  • The crew was flying back to his base at RAF Thorney Island after he took part to a rugby game at RAF Bovingdon. The departure was completed in poor weather conditions with low visibility due to snow falls. While climbing to a height of 400 feet, the pilot-in-command made a turn to the left when the aircraft hit trees and crashed in a wooded area located five miles north of the airfield. A passenger was seriously injured while 16 other occupants were killed. The aircraft was destroyed upon impact, except the rear part of the fuselage.
  • Investigations were unable to determine the exact cause of the accident. However, the following findings were reported:
    - Low visibility due to snow falls,
    - The plane was carrying one extra passenger, despite having only 16 passenger seats. However, this was not considered as a contributory factor,
    - weather was not considered as a factor,
    - An assumption was made that the pilot was trying to fly within sight of the ground, in conditions of poor visibility.