An Aer Lingus Viscount airliner, Flight 712, carrying sixty one people (4 crew and 57 passengers) crashed into
the Irish sea killing all on board on March 24th, 1968. The Vickers Viscount was travelling from Cork to London
(Heathrow) at an altitude of 17,000ft when a call from the aircraft said it had lost 5,000ft of altitude and was plummeting in a rapid spin. The aircraft came to rest in the Irish sea near Tuskar rock, 7 miles south east of
the Irish coast.
There were witnesses in the area of the crash who said that they had seen a second aircraft which may have
impacted with it and that it had the markings of a drone used by the British for missile tests at their coastal
facilities in Wales. In the late 1960's the British had frequent missile tests over the Irish sea and many believe
that a testing site in Aberporth, Wales was involved. There had also been several British naval vessels in
the Irish sea at the time of the crash which could have been involved in weapons testing. However the British military deny any missile tests on that day and that Aberporth was closed for the weekend.
When the wreckage of Aer Lingus Flight 712 was found and raised from the sea bed only 14 bodies were
recovered. There has been speculation that some of the bodies were cremated to hide the fact that the
aircraft was hit by a missile and only bodies showing signs of death due to impact with the water were recovered.
The Vickers Viscount has had an excellent safety record and this one was a well maintained aircraft which had undergone
a major inspection three weeks earlier. The 4 engined airliner crashed at around 11.10am on a clear and sunny morning.
There was no black box recorder on this aircraft.
The official accident inquiry conducted by the Irish government resulted in the statement that there was not enough evidence
to reach a reasonable conclusion about the initial cause of the high altitude incident.
More then 25 years after the crash a trawler found a metallic artifact near Tuskar rock. The object was cylindrical in shape,
3 feet in length with a width of 18 inches. It was made of aluminium and it is believed to be part of a jet engine, possibly
from a Meteor jet which were commonly used as pilotless drones and used as target practice for the testing of surface
to air missiles. However the object may not be related to the incident at all.
Over 30 years later and this air crash still remains a mystery. Why did a 4 engined well maintained airliner fall out of the
sky? Did the witnesses to the crash see a pilotless drone or missile impact the airliner? Are the British military covering
up the fact that a missile launched from Aberporth or a naval vessel mistook the airliner as a target drone? Or did a
target drone collide with the airliner? It is interesting to note that log books from Royal Naval vessels that were in the
area have gone missing. It is hoped that relatives of the victims of Flight 712 will one day find out what caused the
airliner to crash.