UK’s deadliest air accident: Staines Air Disaster

Exactly five decades after from the Staines Air Disaster, Stephen Skinner recounts the background and subsequent investigation into the UK’s deadliest air accident

Fifty years ago, on Sunday, June 18, 1972 at just after 1600hrs, BEA Trident G-ARPI (c/n 2109) began its take-off run from Heathrow’s Runway 27R for the short hop to Brussels. Just two-and-a-half minutes later a young boy saw the Trident descending at 4,500ft/min and crash almost immediately. The child summoned help and the emergency services arrived quickly but all 118 on board were already dead. The task of determining the cause of the tragedy now fell to the Accidents Investigation Branch (then part of the Department for Trade and Industry) at Farnborough. Such was the level of interest in the incident, a public inquiry, headed by Justice Geoffrey Lane was opened.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below