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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 66552
Last updated: 3 March 2021
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Date:21-MAR-1964
Time:day
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA23 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-23-160 Apache
Owner/operator:Westway Air Taxis Ltd
Registration: G-ASHC
C/n / msn: 23-1319
Fatalities:Fatalities: 5 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Melling, near Aintree Racecourse, Sefton, Merseyside -   United Kingdom
Phase: Approach
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Luton Airport, Befordshire (LTN/EGGW)
Destination airport:Aintree Racecourse, Sefton, near Liverpool
Narrative:
Crashed 21 March 1964 at Melling, near Aintree village, on Grand National Day, killing all five persons on board (pilot and four passengers). One of the passengers was the prominent journalist and broadcaster Nancy Spain. The aircraft (G-ASHC) had taken off from Luton Airport and was on approach to land at the racecourse. Spain was travelling there to cover the 1964 Grand National, which was taking place that day. Another passenger was Spain's companion Joan Werner Laurie, who was the editor of the magazine 'She' and an accomplished rally driver and navigator. She was also learning to fly. The CAA accident report stated that passenger interference could not be ruled out as a cause of the accident.

According to an eyewitness report (see link #8)

"As I recall it, Grand National Day on 21st March was a damp, cloudy day with conditions not great for GA flying. Excitement for enthusiasts on the ground at the airport was provided by the arrival of the first Avro 748 ever to land at Speke, otherwise it was poor day for visitors. During the morning, those on the balcony watched as Apache G-ASHC overflew the airport to ‘have a look at Aintree’, and those with Air-band radios reported that the aircraft must have landed on the strip at Aintree Race Course when it did not return.

Later in the day we found out from the BBC radio news that the aircraft had crashed, with all on board losing their lives, including a well-known broadcaster and journalist Nancy Spain. This event made quite an impression on me, not quite into my teens, as it was the first occasion that I had ‘seen’ people who would die tragically only a few minutes later. No single cause was ever attributed, the accident generally put down to pilot and passengers (who were PPLs) disputing over whether to land or not and so becoming situationally unaware in marginal flight conditions".

Registration G-ASHC cancelled same day (21 March 1964) as "destroyed"

Sources:

1. Passauer Neue Presse 23 March 1964, p2
2. National Archives (PRO Kew) File AVIA 101/365 to AVIA 101/387 (23 Files): https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C5070392 to https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C5070397 inclusive
3. CAA: https://cwsprduksumbraco.blob.core.windows.net/g-info/HistoricalLedger/G-ASHC.pdf
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_PA-23#Accidents_and_incidents
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Werner_Laurie
6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Spain#Private_life
7. G-ASHC at Southampton (EGHI) on 12/9/1963: https://abpic.co.uk/pictures/view/1599185
8. https://derbosoft.proboards.com/thread/20533/complete-visiting-aircraft-logs-review
9. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Werner_Laurie-3


Images:


Photo: Dave Thaxter

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
22-Jul-2009 01:55 VHKDK Added
05-May-2010 22:24 angels one five Updated [Location, Departure airport, Narrative]
05-May-2010 23:12 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type]
07-Jul-2010 03:01 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
26-May-2012 13:23 Anon. Updated [Total fatalities, Total occupants]
05-Aug-2012 16:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source]
11-Feb-2013 02:37 malcolm133 Updated [Narrative]
10-Mar-2013 05:06 harro Updated [[Narrative]]
29-Oct-2014 11:15 TB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Phase, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
14-Jan-2016 20:25 signalnorth Updated [Narrative]
10-May-2018 13:15 angels one five Updated [Time, Location, Narrative]
24-Nov-2020 23:23 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Source, Narrative]
27-Nov-2020 22:44 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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