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1970: Holiday jet goes missing over Spain

A charter flight from Manchester has gone missing with 105 holiday-makers and seven crew on board.

The Dan-Air Comet jet left Manchester Airport at 1700 BST (1600 GMT) to make the short flight to Barcelona with passengers on a Clarkson tour and seven crew.

Most of the people on board are from the Greater Manchester area.

Air-traffic controllers at Prat de Llobregt airport were last in contact with the plane at 1900 BST (1800 GMT).

It was due to land at that time but was 12 miles north-west of Barcelona flying 6,000 ft over Sabadell.


"There was nothing to indicate any trouble"

Dan-Air spokesman

The managing director of Dan-Air, Alan Snudden, has refused to speculate about what might have happened until there is definite news.

Another spokesman for the British-owned airline said: "The weather at Barcelona at the time was quite clear. There was nothing to indicate any trouble."

The plane was routed to fly over western France and the Pyrenees.

Dan-Air owns 12 similar Comet-4 airliners and flies this route five or six times a week.

The airline, formed in 1953, also flies out of Gatwick, Teeside, Glasgow and Berlin and ranked highly in an air safety survey published recently.

London-based Clarksons is the largest package holiday company in Britain and has a five year contract with Dan-Air to use three Comets.

Together they flew 250,000 people abroad last year.

Since Comets appeared in 1953 as the world's first passenger jet aircraft they have been beset by tragedy.

They have been involved in half a dozen crashes claiming over 200 lives.

In Context
The wreckage of the plane was found the next day.

It had crashed into the Montseny mountains in Northern Spain, claiming the lives of all on board.

The victims were buried in a mass grave in the nearby village of Arbucias on 6 July.

At the same time memorial services were held across Greater Manchester.

No relatives were able to attend the funeral and the Spanish authorities insisted the remains be buried within 48 hours for "hygienic reasons".

Confusion surrounded the location of the wreckage because it was 32 miles north of where it was supposed to have been.

The Spanish Air Ministry report published in November 1970 said it was impossible to pinpoint blame, but the aircraft was off-course owing to navigation errors made by the crew.


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