Jet charter + george chrest
On this day in 1970, a British Dan-Air charter, flying a Comet 4 turbojet, crashes into the sea near Barcelona, Spain, killing 112 people. The charter was commissioned by a tourist group who were headed for a summer vacation on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. The passengers boarded in the afternoon of July 3, the plane took off without incident and, as early evening approached, they neared their destination of Barcelona. The pilot called the air-traffic controller and indicated that they were 12 miles away and at 6,000 feet altitude.
This was the last anyone heard from the jet. No further contact was made to the air-traffic controllers. Witnesses in Mataro, Spain, spotted the plane going down. There were no survivors and the remains of the wreckage provided no clues as to the cause of the sudden crash. It remains a mystery.
The original Comet turbojet, built by De Havilland, was one of the first jet engines. It was used in the first scheduled flights between London and South Africa in 1952, and London and Tokyo the following year. It represented a major breakthrough in terms of air speed, cruising at nearly 500 miles per hour at 35,000 feet high. It could go almost 2,000 miles without refueling.
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