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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 32667
Last updated: 22 January 2021
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Date:16-FEB-1968
Time:night
Type:Silhouette image of generic C150 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna F150G (Reims)
Owner/operator:Michel Lardemer
Registration: F-BOGL
C/n / msn: F150-0131
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:River Swale Estuary, Harty Ferry, near Faversham, Kent -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Illegal Flight
Departure airport:Abbeville/Drucat, France
Destination airport:
Narrative:
Cessna F150G (Reims) F-BOGL was substantially damaged on 16 February 1968 after being stolen from the airfield where it was parked at Abbeville/Drucat, France, and overturned in a forced landing on the mudflats at Harty Ferry, Kent. At the time of its unscheduled arrival in the UK it was registered to Michel Lardemer of Rosey. I doubt that he was a very happy bunny when he was told where and in what condition his aeroplane was, as it had been registered to him only on 1 February 1968...two weeks earlier!

The incident even sparked a debate in the House of Commons! According to "Hansard", the official record of debates in the Houses of Parliament:

"Light Aircraft Crash (Kent)
HC Deb 28 February 1968 vol 759 c387W 387W

Mr. Boston asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will obtain a report from the Chief Constable about the disappearance of two people following the crash of a light aircraft at Harty Ferry, Kent, on Friday, 16th February, 1968; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Taverne: I have carefully considered my hon. Friend's request and I do not think that, in this instance, my right hon. Friend would be justified in exercising his power under Section 30 of the Police Act, 1964 to call for a report."

There was a further debate in the House of Commons on 20 March 1968:

"Hansard, 20 March 1968 vol 761 cc410-1

Mr. Boston asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether the aircraft which crashed at Harty Ferry, Kent, on Friday, 16th February, 1968, was tracked by his Department's radar establishments.

Mr. Merlyn Rees: No, Sir. The tracking of aircraft coming from this direction is given a relatively low priority. Warning against a possible threat across Continental N.A.T.O. territory is, of course, provided by the integrated N.A.T.O. Early Warning Radar System.

Mr. Boston: Does my hon. Friend recall that there was considerable concern and interest in this incident, partly because of the very wild and unsubstantiated statements about smuggling activities? Can he say who is responsible for matters involving illegal intrusion by civil aircraft, whether there is any contact between his Department and any other Department, and, finally, whether he thinks that any other safeguards are needed?

Mr. Rees: While the Minister of Defence retains responsibility for the air defence of the United Kingdom, responsibility for all aircraft not engaged on defence tasks is vested in the Board of Trade. In practice, the two systems work very closely together. I think that the last part of the question would have to be addressed to my right hon. Friend at the Board of Trade."

A report in Flight magazine (see link #3) sheds further light into the incident:

"Cessna Salvage
During the night of February 15-16 a Cessna 150, which had been reported missing from Abbeville airfield in northern France, made a forced landing in the soft mud of the Swale Estuary at Harty Ferry, near Faversham, Kent. A couple, believed to have been the occupants of the aircraft, were seen walking through a nearby village soon after dawn.

Although the Cessna overturned, it does not appear - judging from photographs - to have been badly damaged.
Mr Bill Harrison, a local fisherman, organised the recovery of the aircraft before the rising tide could cause further damage. Solicitors acting on his behalf obtained a writ through the Admiralty Marshal's Office in London, and a Customs bailiff pinned it to the aircraft, which was later taken to a private airfield at Headcorn, where it will stay pending the courts' consideration of Mr Harrison's claim for salvage."

On the subject of Mr. Harrison's claim for salvage, the Daily Express, 20th February 1968 had this to add:

"Fisherman Bill claims 7,000 'catch' - a plane
Fisherman Bill Harrison yesterday took out a High Court writ on the mystery plane which landed upside-down on a Kent beach last Friday. Said Mr. Harrison: "I'm claiming salvage on the plane. It's my biggest catch ever". He was the first to get to the 7,000 Cessna stolen in France by a man and a girl who disappeared after it came down near Faversham. Said Mr. Harrison, "I put a rope on the tailpiece of the aircratt an hour after it was found. No one seemed to be going to do anything about it, so I started a salvage operation on my own. I was the only bloke around who knew how to walk on the mud to get to the plane. Every-one else was sinking in."

GUARDED
Mr. Harrison, aged 44, of Harty Ferry Cottages, added: "After putting on some more ropes I directed police and firemen pulling it." Last night the red and white Cessna, a policeman on guard, was in Mr. Harrison's compound. Today it will be moved to a private airstrip. "But not before the writ has been slapped on it. Till then I've got it locked up" said Mr. Harrison. The writ, to be fixed by a Customs bailiff today, restrains anybody from taking the plane out of official custody except to a place of safety in this country.

An anonymous phone caller told the police yesterday that Manchester University students were behind the plane riddle. The plane is F-BOGL. The University's rag mascot is Fred Bogle."

Sources:

1. http://sussexhistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=2226.0
2. "Hansard" 16 February 1968 and 20 March 1968
3. Flight Magazine: https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1968/1968%20-%200304.html
4. National Archives (PRO Kew) File FCA 64/48: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C2281990
5. The Times newspaper (London) 17 and 19 February 1968
6. Daily Express, 20th February 1968.
7. Photos of overturned aircraft: http://www.airport-data.com/aircraft/photo/001443011.html


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
01-Sep-2012 15:31 Uli Elch Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Location, Phase, Nature, Source, Damage, Narrative]
25-Jan-2020 15:38 Uli Elch Updated [Operator, Narrative]
19-Feb-2020 19:49 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
19-Feb-2020 19:49 Dr. John Smith Updated [Date]

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