The aircraft involved in this crash was a piston-engined machine engaged on a flight from the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down for the purpose of photographing a trial of Army parachute equipment from another aircraft. A court of inquiry is investigating the cause of the accident.
I regret that the two occupants of the aircraft, a Royal Air Force pilot and a civilian photographer, were both killed. In addition, an officer of the Wiltshire Fire Brigade, who were called to the scene of the accident, was seriously injured by a wall which fell on him and he is still detained in hospital. Nine other people suffered cuts and bruises and were taken to hospital, but were able to leave later in the day. One house was destroyed and 10 damaged, five of them probably beyond repair. In consequence, 34 people are temporarily homeless. Fourteen of them are being looked after in our Establishment at Boscombe Down. Compensation will, of course, be paid for the damage caused.
I am sure that the House will join with me and the Secretary of State for Air in expressing its sympathy with the relatives of those who lost their lives and with those who have been injured or rendered homeless by this accident.
While I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the House will wish to associate themselves with my right hon. Friend's expression of sympathy for the bereaved and for the injured and homeless, may I ask if he is aware that those who lent a hand at the scene of the tragedy should be congratulated on the rescue work which they performed? Is my right hon. Friend further aware that there is growing disquiet in the built-up areas in and around Salisbury at the continued practice of low flying, and will he be good enough to contact his right hon. Friends at the appropriate Ministries with a view to looking into the question of low flying and dealing with it?