AIR CRASH INVESTIGATIONS:
‘Comet Air Crash’
Wednesday September 19
This week on AIR CRASH INVESTIGATIONS, January 10, 1954 and one the world’s first passenger jets, the de Havilland DH-106 Comet-1 took off from Rome. The plane was the ultimate in passenger luxury, but 26 minutes into the flight it exploded catastrophically killing 35. Then months later, another Comet crashed in the same way. A team of investigators must find out why this state-of-the-art aircraft had a habit of breaking up in the air. What was the fatal flaw?
In early 1954, De Havilland is at the forefront of commercial aviation, introducing the first passenger jet airliner to the world. On 10 January, 1954, a flight takes off in Rome at 10:31 AM to finish the last leg of its international journey, carrying children returning home for the school term, a famous BBC reporter and others travelling to Britain.
Approximately 30 minutes later, the plane disappears from radar at high altitude and crashes into the Mediterranean Sea. Authorities confirm that all 35 passengers and crew have died, and post-mortem examinations show unusual injuries to many victims.
As officials work to identify a cause, a second Comet plane crashes just three months later, with its victims also exhibiting similar injury patterns. With the entire fate of commercial jet aviation in jeopardy, Prime Minister Winston Churchill calls for a government investigation of the crash, examining everything from potential sabotage and conspiracy theories to possible faulty mechanics and human error.
What brought down this flight and what could have caused the victims\’ strange injuries?