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Tuesday, 10 December, 2002, 09:52 GMT
Last words from Bluebird preserved
Donald Campbell
Donald Campbell died on Coniston Water in 1967
The last words of Donald Campbell's speed record attempt in Cumbria have been digitally preserved.

Paul Evans, from Darlington was in charge of radio communications during Mr Campbell's ill-fated attempt to break the world water speed record in 1967 on Coniston Water.

He was the last man to hear Mr Campbell alive and still has the original recording of the attempt - and the dramatic last seconds before the Bluebird crashed.

Now, with the help of Darlington College of Technology, the original tape recording has been transferred to digital CD to be preserved for history.


I Can't see much, the water's very bad indeed... I'm getting a lot of bloody row in here... I've got the bows up... I've gone

Donald Campbell's last words

Mr Evans hopes a copy of the recording will be included in a planned museum to Donald Campbell and Bluebird.

He said: "The recording helps to prove that pilot error was not to blame for the crash.

"I am delighted that Darlington College of Technology has been able to preserve such an important piece of history."

Paul Baldwin, a senior tutor in radio journalism, who made the digital recording of the tape, said: "It was lucky that we had kept some of the old tape recorders.

"We were able to transfer the tape onto computer and make a CD of the recording."

Bluebird crashes in January 1967
Campbell was killed trying to beat his own record

The original unedited tape is being sent to the coroner's office in Barrow-in-Furness, where at an inquest in October, a verdict of accidental death was recorded on Mr Campbell.

The master recording of his last moments helped to confirm his frantic efforts to de-throttle, a factor which contributed to the crash.

His last words were: "The water's dark green and I can't see a bloody thing. Hallo the bow is up. I'm going. I'm on my back. I'm gone."

Surrey-born Campbell was 45 when he attempted to beat his world record of just over 276mph on 4 January 1967.


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