Ceremony marks 50th anniversary of worst air crash in Switzerland

The coffins of the victims of the Hochwald plane crash in the local gymnasium. Keystone / Str

A ceremony was held on Monday morning in memory of the victims of the crash of a British plane in Hochwald, canton Solothurn, 50 years ago. 

This content was published on April 10, 2023

The accident killed 108 people and remains the worst on Swiss soil. The British Ambassador to Switzerland James Squire and the Director of Euroairport Basel-Mulhouse Matthias Suhr took part in the commemoration at the memorial near the crash site. Many relatives of the British victims were present.

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The Vickers Vanguard 952 aircraft that left Bristol on April 10, 1973 crashed in a forest near Hochwald, after a failed approach to Basel-Mulhouse airport. On the day of the accident, it was foggy, snowy and very windy when the plane started its descent. The crew reported to the control tower at 9:49am, but the plane failed to land and headed away from the airport. The plane’s crew then apparently lost orientation and the aircraft eventually crashed 16 kilometres south of the airport. 

+ Swiss civil aviation crash history

One hundred and four passengers, two pilots and two crew members lost their lives that day. The 37 people who survived were in the rear section of the plane.

The Hochwald air disaster remains the worst air accident Switzerland has ever seen on its soil. The worst accident in Swiss aviation history was the crash of a Swissair MD-11 from New York to Geneva in 1998. The plane crashed outside Peggy's Cove, Canada. All 256 people on board died.

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