Vickers Viking air crash memorial plea: Nothing marks site of Northern Ireland’s worst plane disaster
The son of one of the victims of the worst aviation crash in the history of Northern Ireland has said he hopes a memorial would be placed on the site to mark the 60th anniversary of the tragedy.
Twenty-seven people died on January 5, 1953, when a Vickers Viking aircraft crashed at Nutts Corner airfield in Co Antrim, now Belfast International Airport.
It was flying from Northolt in west London. A steward and seven passengers survived.
It happened just weeks before another disaster, the sinking of the Princess Victoria off the coast of Co Down.
Among the victims of the crash was Patricia Auld (30). Her son Stephen was a few months old.
Mr Auld (60) and the Ulster Aviation Society (UAS) approached Antrim Borough Council to discuss what could be done to mark the anniversary.
A special reception organised by the council is being held for them today at Clotworthy House on the 60th anniversary.
Mr Auld had highlighted that there is nothing to mark the site.
“There is no memorial or mark anywhere of what happened that night,” Mr Auld told the BBC. “No one has actually said 27 people perished here.”
Victims’ families and members of the Ulster Aviation Society are among the invited guests.
During the event a photograph of the plane will be presented to the council and it will be placed in the town’s civic centre.
Mayor of Antrim Roy Thompson, who is hosting the reception, said it is a “fitting” way to remember those who lost a loved on.
“It is important to remember it. It was a major loss of life, there were 27 victims,” he said.
UAS member and Ulster Unionist councillor Mervyn Rea said the photograph was a respectful way to commemorate those who died in the tragedy.
“Mr Auld was only months old and never knew his mother, for people like that it is important that we can remember those who were lost,” he said.
“There hasn’t been a collision, thankfully, like it since.
“I think the photograph and placing it in the civic centre is a fitting way to remember it.
“More people will see it and raise awareness of the tragedy.”