B.O.A.C. Comet Lost
With deep regret Flight has to record that Comet G-ALYP - the aircraft which on May 2nd, 1952, inaugurated the world's first scheduled airline service to be operated by jet airliners - was lost, together with all the 29 passengers and six crew aboard, when it descended into the Mediterranean on Sunday, January 10th. The following day B.O.A.C. announced the temporary suspension of Comet services, to permit close examination of the entire fleet.
Commanded by Capt. A. Gibson, D.F.C., the Comet was one of B.O.A.C.'s fleet of eight Series 1s. At the time of the accident, which is thought to have occurred just before 1000 hr G.M.T., it was flying from Rome to London on the last leg of a service from Singapore (one of 11 extra flights scheduled for mid-winter on this route).
The time of "chocks away" at Rome was recorded at 0931. The first stages of the climb to cruising height were apparently uneventful, as routine messages only were passed to Rome control, the last being at 0950. Nothing more was heard until fishermen reported seeing an aircraft fall into the Mediterranean between the islands of Elba and Monte Cristo; at least one had previously recognised the sound of the machine as being that of a jet aircraft. Witnesses spoke of explosions in the air and smoke was coming from the aircraft.
In face of strong competition A.V. Roe and Co. Ltd. have secured an order for an unstated number of Shackleton maritime-reconnaissance aircraft. News of the order was simultaneously released in South Africa by Mr. F.C. Erasmus, Minister of Defence, and in England by Sir Roy Dobson, who recalled the cruise, in April last year, of Shackletons of No.42 Squadron from Ceylon to the Union during a 17,000-mile round trip from their home base. Mr. Erasmus added that deliveries are expected to commence within 15 months. The mark of Shackleton concerned is not revealed, but rumours have connected the designation Shackleton M.R.3 with a nosewheel development of the present M.R.2.
It was disclosed last week that a DC-3 of Eagle Aviation, Ltd., had been fired on by an unidentified fighter while on a journey from Belgrade to Blackbushe on December 31st after delivering a cargo of pigs to the Yugoslav Government. The incident occurred at a height of 10,000ft near the Yugoslav frontier; the fighter made one attack, whereupon the DC-3 pilot promptly sought cloud cover.
Source: Flight International