§ Mrs. Renée Short
(by Private Notice) asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement on the tragic air crash yesterday in Wolverhampton, which involved the deaths of three persons.
§ The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. Goronwy Roberts)
A De Havilland Dove, G-AVHV, crashed into a house in the Wobaston estate, Wolverhampton, at 10.05 B.S.T. yesterday and burst into flames. The aircraft had been making a flight from Luton to Wolverhampton. At present, I have no evidence that, prior to the crash, this flight was in any way unusual.
Both occupants of the aircraft and one occupant of the house were killed. Two other people in the house escaped with minor injuries.
The Board of Trade's Chief Inspector of Accidents decided to carry out a formal investigation. A team of accident investigators left immediately for Wolverhampton and are now at work. A report will be published in due course.
I am sure that the House will wish to join with me in expressing sympathy with the relatives and friends of all those who died, and also with the injured.
§ Mrs. Short
I join with my right hon. Friend in offering sympathy to the family of my constituent who lost her life, and I am glad that the two members of her family who were there were mercifully spared.
I should also like to offer my sympathy to the families of the two members of the crew who died in the accident.
May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he can give an assurance to the other families living on this rather congested local authority housing estate that this was an unusual accident which is not likely to recur with this particular 890 kind of plane which uses the airfield a good deal?
Will my right hon. Friend also tell us when he expects his report to be published, and if it will be made public?
I should also like to thank my right hon. Friend for the prompt action which he and his Department took, first, in letting me know about the accident yesterday, and, secondly, for sending his inspectors to the scene of the accident so promptly.
§ Mr. Roberts
I appreciate what my hon. Friend has said about the usual promptness with which my officials acted in this tragic matter.
I can give the assurance, on the basis of statistics that we have, that accidents of this kind are a most unusual happening. The determination of the causes of this particular accident will depend on the investigation now in hand.
The timing of the publication of the report is a matter for my right hon. Friend and I to decide when the report has been submitted to us by the Chief Inspector.
§ Mr. Doughty
I am sure that the whole House will join in the sympathy extended not only to the persons who lost their lives in the aeroplane, but also to the lady who lost her life on the ground.
Will the Minister tell us whether, at the time, the aeroplane was under the control of air traffic control and was on the correct route as designated by air traffic control?
§ Mr. Roberts
I prefer to await the full report by the Chief Inspector, but the point raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman is most apposite.