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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Memorial for plane crash victims
Air crash
The plane crashed minutes after take off from Heathrow
Two lasting memorials to the 118 victims of the Staines air crash in 1972 have been unveiled.

The British European Airways plane crashed two minutes after take-off from Heathrow, killing everyone on board.

A dedicated garden near to the crash site, created at the request of relatives, was opened on Friday.

A stained glass window, commemorating the tragedy, was unveiled at St Mary's Church, where a memorial service was to be held.

The Trident jet - which had been involved in another accident in 1968 - was only three miles from the airport when witnesses said it "dropped out of the sky".

Speed error

Eye witnesses said the plane broke into two as it fell - the fuselage ploughed into trees and the tail section landed 50 yards away.

Rescue teams pulled two people alive from the wreckage - a young girl, who died at the scene, and a businessman who died a few hours later in hospital.

An inquiry by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said a speed error had caused the plane to stall and the aircraft was not at a sufficient height for the crew to regain control.

An autopsy also revealed pilot Stanley Key was suffering from a heart condition and he was likely to be in pain just before the crash.

The investigation concluded this had probably impaired the captain's judgement which led to him making a fatal error which went unnoticed by the other crew until too late.


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