Kinloss Report A – Viscount Crash – 19 Jan 73 1/73


This Report A was found amongst Frank Card’s research papers for ‘Whensoever’. Frank visited KMRT at least twice and these Rep As were obviously available then but have since ‘disappeared’. Digitized by Brian Canfer 22 Dec 2022


SERIAL NO 1/73

REPORT ‘A’

KINLOSS MOUNTAIN RESCUE TEAM INCIDENT

Nature of Incident:     BEA VISCOUNT. G/AOHI      Team Called Out:191600 
Missing Perth/Argyll area                   Left Station: 191645
Authority Alerting: E  NRCC                                        Arrived in Search Area: 192030

Area Searched: Hill area between                                          
                        Loch Katrine and A85 trunk road
                        Duration of Search: 16 hours

Location of Incident: Benmore 53/434245                                   Incident Located: 201000

Located by: Leuchars MRT                                                        Casualty Evacuated to: Glasgow
Type of Search: Party and sweep search.                                                  Mortuary by 211645

Weather Conditions:      Very deep soft                                       Composition of Search Party:                       snow underfoot – high winds, poor vis                             27 Kinloss MRT
No of Casualties: 4                                                                          26 Leuchars MRT
                                                                                                        40 SAS 23 Regt TAVR
                                                                                                        1 Police and dog

Dead: 4                                                                                     Sub Units Involved: Nil

Vehicle Mileage: 2 x 3 Ton Vehs = 632 miles
4 x Landrovers  = 1638                                      Returned to Station: 231400
RCC Informed: 231400

Comments on Equipment:  lack of snow shoes hampered movement over deep soft snow.
21El266 bags human remains -zip kept splitting open.

NARRATIVE:

            On Friday 19 Jan 73, Kinloss MRT joined RAF Leuchars MRT at a search base at Lochearnhead Village Hall. A first-light search for the missing aircraft started on 20 Jan 73. A civilian informed the deputy team leader that the wreckage of a Whitley aircraft was at approximately map reference 54/477177. It was also known that a Scimitar had crashed in the 60s about 2 miles north of Callander. Teams were warned not to mistake this wreckage for the missing Viscount. Teams were also briefed that aircraft wreckage is much more likely to be found on summits and ridges than in glens.

Kinloss MRT were detailed to search the area between Glen Gyle (West Loch Katrine) and the Balquidder Glen. The Kinloss MRT radio control vehicle was – positioned at Inverlochlarig and 5 parties of 5 men were detailed for line search routes along the main ridges, with a capability of splitting into 10 smaller parties each with a radio. In the event the weather was so bad that only one main group split into smaller parties.   There was knee deep newsnow strong SE winds and cloud above 1500 feet. Chains and shovels were vital Landrover equipment to get to search roadends and snow shoes would have greatly assisted searchers if they had been available.

Leuchars MRT found pieces of the Viscount very early in the day and the Kinloss MRT and Leuchars MRT radio control vehicles were diverted to a position 5 miles further north at Benmore Farm. 31/2 of the 5 Kinloss MRT search partieswere not recalled and completed a full search day in desperate conditions. 5 Kinloss MRT were recalled and redeployed to incident area.   This party joined in with civilian party and searched area 420250-430245 sweeping north east to 440250 – 430260. Small parts of wreckage and papers located.

This party then called to main crew location area 429245 to assist Leuchars MRT.

Sunday 21 Jan 73

Weather conditions improved and snow consolidated a little. Wind dropped but it was misty above 2,000 ft. Two parties of 8 Kinloss MRT members were sent with stretchers to about 2,800 ft on the W face of Benmore to recover two of the four dead Viscount aircrew. Leuchars MRT evacuated the other two bodies.

One Kinloss MRT found suitable landing areas for the BEA  Alouette helicopter.

Ten Kinloss MRT joined with a party of Leuchars MRT and did a complete sweep search (Fig 1) up the steep W face of Benmore to just beyond the summit (15 yard intervals) and back down the face further south at 5 yard intervals. All the wreckage of any importance was located and mapped during these sweep searches. There was a slight danger of avalanche but only minor cornice slides occurred.

23 Regiment (Volunteer) SAS also carried out a less methodical search to the south of the MRT line. It was the SAS Regt which located and recovered the Viscount Flight Recorder from 150 yards north of Benmore summit. It was also the SAS who first discovered that the Viscount had first impacted on the East face of Benmore.

The four bodies were evacuated from the west face by stretcher parties and carried to Bemore Glen from which point they were lifted out by BEA helicopter.

Monday 22 Jan 73

Weather – Freezing level 2,000′. Cloud Base 2,800′ later rising.

Wind strong SW later decreasing. Two parties of 6 Kinloss MRT assisted with further digging and recovery around the site of the cockpit, victims and lighter wreckage. All sweep search parties were lifted in threes to start of search point by BEA helicopter. One Kinloss MRT pair joined a

Leuchars MRT pair and climbed gullies on SE face of Benmore, locating nothing. A party of 7 Kinloss MRT did a wide sweep search at about 3,000′ across the SE face of Benmore from Bealach-eadar-dha-Beinn to the NE Ridge (Fig I), locating nothing, and then they did a sweep up the NE Ridge to the summit. At the summit assistance was given for about 2 hours sweep searching etc for the Ministry Accident Investigation Officer. The approximate fan of heavy wreckage and point of impact are shown at Fig II.   It is estimated that the aircraft was on a track of 276°Grid at the time of impact in a tail down attitude.     There was no deeply impacted crater. The lowest piece of wreckage is a fuel tank (3′ x 1’ x 1’). All the wreckage except a few tiny pieces had been thrown westwards across the summit ridge and down the west face. Parties descended to Benmore Farm by various routes or were lifted out by BEA helicopter.

Tuesday 23 Jan 73

Kinloss MRT returned to RAF Kinloss.

Distribution:                                                                                                  Date: 24 Jan 73          

MOD(Air)(Ops)(ESR)b(RAF) HQ STC                                         Signature……………………
HQ 18 Gp                                                                                             FS  G BRUCE
HQNORMAR                                                                                       Rank/Name 




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