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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 55566
Last updated: 28 August 2019
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Date:21-SEP-1979
Time:09:55 BST
Type:Silhouette image of generic HAR model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Hawker Siddeley Harrier GR.3
Owner/operator:1 Sqn Royal Air Force (1 Sqn RAF)
Registration: XZ128
C/n / msn: 71218
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:3
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Ramnoth Road, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire PE13 2JA -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Nature:Military
Departure airport:RAF Wittering (EGXT)
Destination airport:
Narrative:
An RAF plane crashed onto houses in a Cambridgeshire town, killing two men and a young boy. Both the pilots ejected safely when the two Harrier jump jets collided at about 8,000 ft (2,438 m).

One of the planes broke up in midair and fell harmlessly into a field but the other dropped onto the centre of Wisbech, destroying two houses and a bungalow.

Several people were injured in the accident - including a mother and her baby who were in one of the semi-detached houses hit by the jet.

The planes - which were both from the nearby air force base at Wittering - ran into each other at 09:55 BST during a training exercise.

The Harrier that hit the town left a crater 15 feet (4.6 m) wide and 50 ft (15.2 m) deep on Ramnoth Road, and only narrowly missed two schools and the town's college of further education in adjoining streets.

Local Liberal MP Clement Freud said it was a "miracle" the planes had not caused more death and damage.

The dead have been named as Bob Bowers (aged 40), his two-year-old son Jonathan Bowers and Bill Trumpess - a former mayor of the town, aged 73

Susan King, the head of the local primary school only 300 yards (274 m) away, said the plane had skimmed the roof of a building before exploding in a cloud of smoke that rose 100 ft (30.5 m) in the air.

The Harrier which crashed onto houses was XZ128; the pilot - later named as Flight Lieutenant Chris J Gowers - ejected safely

Sources:

1. http://web.archive.org/web/20161217162442/http://www.ejection-history.org.uk:80/aircraft_by_type/harrier/harrier.htm
2. http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1980/jan/15/wisbech-air-crash
3. http://www.fenlandcitizen.co.uk/news/local/memories_of_harrier_crash_horror_1_448942
4. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/september/21/newsid_2525000/2525419.stm
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Harrier_Jump_Jet_family_losses#UK_operated_Harriers


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
04-Aug-2011 23:57 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Country, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
08-Apr-2013 17:08 Nepa Updated [Operator, Narrative]
05-Jun-2013 17:25 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Source, Embed code, Narrative]

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