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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 21099
Last updated: 20 May 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic CNBR model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
English Electric Canberra B.2
Owner/operator:Meteorological Research Flt Royal Air Force (Meteorological Research Flt RAF)
Registration: WJ582
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:St. Andrews Bay, ¼ mile off RAF stn Leuchars, Fife -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:RAF Leuchars, Fife (ADX/EGQL)
Destination airport:RAF Leuchars, Fife (ADX/EGDL)
Investigating agency: AIB
On 21 February 1962 the Canberra B.2 aircraft WJ582 used by the Meteorological Research Flight (MRF) crashed into St Andrews Bay, while on approach to RAF Leuchars. On board this flight were the pilot, Flying Officer Herbie Marshall, the navigator Flight lieutenant Don H Gannon, and Allen Lock, a civilian member of MRF staff.

The aircraft was returning from a flight up to 70 degrees North, examining stratospheric warming at altitudes of up to 48,000ft. On the return to RAF Leuchars, the crew was advised of bad weather so Lock moved from his normal seat to the ‘rumble seat’ to provide additional navigational guidance to the pilot on the approach. This was normal procedure in such conditions
On the first landing attempt, they passed through cloud base at 200 ft having over-shot the runway. The pilot then climbed up and went around for another attempt. On this second attempt, the aircraft passed through cloud base over St Andrews Bay with no sign of the runway. The pilot attempted to pull up, but the aircraft’s tail caught the water, causing it to break off, throwing the rest of the aircraft into the North Sea.

The plane reached the sea bed (40 ft underwater) and the pilot ejected. Somehow Lock was caught up in the pilot’s ejector seat and was carried out with him. This was incredibly lucky as the rumble seat where Lock had been sitting was not an ejector seat. Following the ditching, the pilot inflated the dingy and made his way to the navigator (who was clinging to the wreckage of the aircraft) and to Lock. While the crew was wearing survival suits to protect against the cold, Lock recalls that his hand was badly cut and the North Sea in February is a cold place to be!

The crew was in the water for about 30 minutes while two helicopters were scrambled from RAF
Leuchars to rescue them. After being rescued, Lock spent six months in Bridge of Earn hospital in Perthshire, before being transferred to RAF Headley Court in Surrey for a further ten months until June 1963. Lock then returned to work with MRF, but didn’t undertake any more research flights.


Air Britain RAF Aircraft WA100 - WZ999

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: AIB
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

15-Jun-2008 15:25 JINX Added
17-Jun-2008 10:30 JINX Updated
08-Apr-2013 17:03 Dr. John Smith Updated [Cn, Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
06-May-2013 19:33 Nepa Updated [Operator, Location]

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