Queen City (2)

Comments from the forum - 2



Italian, French, Swiss and United States military aircraft from Germany are expected to join a search at dawn for an airliner believed to have come down in the Alps approaches to Geneva. There are 47 passengers aboard including a British pilot.
The plane, a four engined Constellation belonging to Air India International was making a Charter flight to London Airport via Geneva from Cairo where it had picked up 40 Lascar seamen who had been flown from Bombay.
The seamen are to man a new cargo vessel, the “Queen City”, 8300 tons, at Sunderland. The pilot, Captain Alan Saint, 34, of Hoddendon, Hants, has a crew of six, believed to be Indians. Among them is a Stewardess.. A radio message was sent out from the plane at about 9.30am when it was between Voiron and Laurent du Pont, North of Grenoble about 70 miles South of Geneva. That was the last contact with the aircraft. The Constellation was flying against a North Westerly gale. From reports received it is feared it may have been blown towards the 15781 ft Mont Blanc, Europes highest peak.


The plane passed over Grenoble at 14000 feet in a strong wind. Shortly after a plane was reported over Alevard, 25 miles North East of Grenoble. A storm with 60mph gusts was then blowing. Reports of the sound of planes engines flowed in from several areas. The Constellation was reported to have been seen near the Col de l’Iseran. A French message received here from Megeve stated that a plane was heard at 11.15am. At 2.30pm a worker at the French hydro electric dam at Tignes heard two explosions.

A few weeks ago, John Cann made one of his regular trips back to his homelands in Devon. On this occasion, he was able to visit an old company shipmate, Vernon Harris. Vernon was the son of Captain “Ginger Harris”, who, I believe, admitted to naming his son after the Vernon City, upon which he sailed.
In autumn 1950, Captain Harris was standing by during the building of the Queen City 2, which he was to command on her maiden voyage. By October, the ship was almost set for that voyage, and was awaiting a crew. She was to be manned by Indian Nationals, from Bombay.
Sadly, the crew never reached their destination, as the Air India International plane on which they were travelling, crashed into a mountain side in the Swiss Alps. Everyone was killed. Vernon has kindly leant the Daily Telegraph cutting of the event to John, and it is has now been added to the profile pages for the Queen City 2
There was an interesting follow up to the disaster that emerged last summer. A group of Scottish students actually found a bag of mail from the plane, further down the mountain side from the crash, almost sixty years later. MikeJones. Posted on the forum 5 October 2011.

I was the deck officer standing by under the direction of Tom Major and I had been detailed to meet the Indian Crew so remember the incident well. Actually 40 crew members were on that charter fight and four catering staff came by schedule air line and arrived safely. The news was kept quiet until another crew had been quickly recruited and flown out.
The BBC filmed a documentary about 3 planes who had crashed in the same vicinity. There were some vintage propeller planes flying around in those days. Griff Jones. Posted on the forum 5 October 2011.

Disclaimer: The statements on this page are the views of the person who posted them on the forum. The events took place many years ago and in most cases rely on those people's memories, and so we cannot guarantee the accuracy although every effort is made to check it.