What Do You Know About The Stockport Air Disaster?

What Do You Know About The Stockport Air Disaster?

Stockport Air-Disaster

2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the Stockport Air Disaster. On Sunday 4th June 1967, a Canadair C-4 Argonaut aircraft lost power to two engines while carrying passengers home to Manchester airport from Mallorca. With altitude falling rapidly, Captain Harry Marlow was forced to crash-land the plane, remarkably missing a block of flats and gasometer, before crashing at Hopes Carr in the centre of Stockport.  As a result of the crash and ensuing fire, 72 of the 84 people on board lost their lives leaving only 12 survivors, including Marlow. The crash is now ranked as the 4th worst British air disaster of all time, with Manchester Evening News labelling the disaster the “Blackest event in the history of modern Stockport.”

Incredibly, despite the crash happening in the centre of Stockport, no one on the ground was killed by the crash. In fact, it was largely due to those on the ground rushing to the scene to help that ensured that some of the passengers survived, with hundreds of people, both emergency service personnel and citizens, coming to try and help. Within just 10 minutes of the crash the plane was consumed by fire, with those rescuers at the scene trying to pull as many people from the wreckage as possible. It is thanks to this bravery that those 12 people survived the disaster.

Since the disaster, efforts have been made to commemorate those who lost their lives, as well as the survivors and those who helped rescue them. In June 1998, a memorial for the 72 passengers and crew who lost their lives in the crash was unveiled at Hopes Carr and Waterloo Road by Vivienne Thornber and Harold Wood, two of whom survived the crash. In October 2002, following a campaign launched by the Stockport Express, a second memorial was erected on the same site to honour the rescuers, receiving heavy support from the people of Stockport, as well as local MPs and then Prime Minister Tony Blair. In the same year, Captain Marlow, who was unable to fly again for medical reasons following the crash, was honoured with a silver plate inscribed with the thanks of the people of Stockport. His bravery and skill in managing to crash-land the aircraft in a relatively empty part of Stockport ensured that the loss of life was not much higher.

In 2017, the disaster continues to be remembered by the people of Stockport. The documentary Six Miles From Home: The Story of the Stockport Air Disaster was produced for the 50th anniversary of the crash, with a special showing taking place at the Stockport Plaza on the 10th of June 2017 as part of the anniversary commemoration. The scale of the tragedy, which at the time was the 2nd worst British air disaster of all time, as well as the bravery of those Stockport locals who rushed to help at the time, ensures that the disaster will continue to be commemorated in years to come.

Andrew Crawford 

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