recalls tragic 1973 aircrash which killed 108 Somerset people
Highbridge resident has recalled how he lost his father and grandmother
in a devastating aircrash that killed 108 local people exactly
40 years today.
April 10th 1973 nearly 140 people, mainly mothers from the Cheddar
area, boarded Invicta Airlines Flight 435 from Bristol Airport
happily looking forward to a day's shopping and sightseeing in
of Axbridge Ladies Guild went on the trip along with women from
Cheddar Mums' Night Out group, skittles players from Wrington
and Congresbury, plus friends and relatives.
people were killed when the plane struck the tops of trees and
crashed into a hillside trying to land at the Swiss airport during
those mourning was Roger Keen, who was 14 at the time and now
lives in Burnham Road, Highbridge. He lost his father, Roy, and
was a rare day off for my father and was a last-minute decision
by him to join my grandmother," he told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
first I knew something was wrong was when I was walking home from
school. A friend told me they'd heard there had been a crash but
no-one knew any details."
I got home, there was a message waiting for me saying I should
go straight away to my aunt."
told me the details of what she knew - we were all in a lot of
shock to hear about the crash, but no-one knew who had died."
watched the TV for news of the lists of those who had been killed,
but my dad and grandmother never appeared."
was another two days before we got conformation that they were
among those who had died - it was a terrible day."
Cheddar area had its heart ripped out that day - so many families
were devastated. There was hardly a family that was untouched."
2008, on the 35th anniversary of the crash, Roger flew a small
plane from the UK to the crash site in Basle to visit the scene
where he laid flowers at the crash site.
he would like to see a permanent memorial introduced in Cheddar
in memory of those who lost their lives. "It needn't cost
lost of money - it could be a small plaque - but a small memorial
should be introduced to mark this terrible day in Somerset's history,"
and other people affected by the tragedy have this week been marking
the anniversary by attending special church services.
Roger laying flowers at a memorial in Switzerland for those who