|Site Holta, Strand, Norway|
Date 9 August 1961
Destination Stavanger Airport, Sola
Aircraft type Vickers 610 Viking 3B
Number of deaths 39
Operator British Eagle
|Summary Controlled flight into terrain|
Similar Bukken Bruse disaster, Braathens SAFE Flight 239, KLM Flight 823, British European Airways F, Viasa Flight 897
The 1961 Holtaheia Vickers Viking crash (Norwegian: Holtaheia-ulykken) was a controlled flight into terrain incident on 9 August 1961 at Holta in Strand, Norway. The Eagle Airways (later, British Eagle) Vickers 610 Viking 3B Lord Rodney was en route from London to Stavanger Airport, Sola on an AIR Tours charter flight taking a school group for a camping holiday. The aircraft was making an instrument landing when it crashed 54 km (34 mi) north east of Stavanger. The accident killed all 39 people on board.
The Viking left London at 13:29 on what was an estimated two and a half-hour charter flight. Between 16:24 and 16:30 it crashed 18 nautical miles north-east of the airport on to Holteheia, a steep mountainside at an elevation of 1600 feet. The crash site was 30 feet below the summit.
The aircraft was destroyed and an intense fuel and oil fire followed the impact. The search for the aircraft included an RAF Shackleton and Royal Norwegian Navy ships investigating the fjords in the area. The wreckage was found fifteen hours after the crash by a Royal Norwegian Air Force helicopter, 15 miles east from the ILS track.
The 36 passengers were a school class of boys aged 13 to 16 and two teachers from Lanfranc Secondary Modern School for Boys. It was at the time the deadliest aviation incident in Norway.
The aircraft was a twin piston-engined Vickers 610 Viking 3B serial number 152 and registered in the United Kingdom as G-AHPM. It first flew on 2 January 1947 and was delivered new to British European Airways.
The report into the crash put the cause down to "a deviation from the prescribed flight path for reasons unknown".
33 of the boys and one teacher were buried together at a communal grave at Mitcham Road cemetery in Croydon on 17 August 1961.
Ewan MacColl wrote a song, "The Young Birds," about the tragic accident.