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Author Topic: XM645 - Zabbar, Malta  (Read 8964 times)

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Offline djrose007

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XM645 - Zabbar, Malta
« on: May 01, 2013, 11:40:38 PM »
It appears that some people don't know about the crash, or to be more correct the mid air explosion of XM645 over Zabbar, Malta.


I have photographs on my facebook of the exhibits in the Zabbar Sanctuary Museum.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.425624280831713.98343.100001524330891&type=3

Museum Link = http://www.zabbarsanctuarymuseum.org/vulcan.php

It was 14 October 1975 and the aircraft was XM645. 5 people in the aircraft were killed and the two pilots ejected 'safely'. The reason there were 5 dead is that XM645 was on her way out to RAF Luqa from Waddington and in addition to the normal crew they carried a crew chief and a ground crew (Sgt I think) on a jolly out to Malta.
Only one casualty on the ground and that was a lady that my friend out there, who lives in Zabbar, knew. She was standing next to her when she dashed across the road to go to make sure her mother was ok. She was struck by an electrical cable that had been severed by a piece of wreckage.

The co-pilot was bringing her in but he had not been to Malta before and had not been briefed on the difficult approach to the runway. There was an obstruction, a hangar I believe, which made it necessary to come in a little high and drop rapidly down onto the runway. He made a particularly heavy landing, ripping off the port undercarriage. This must have punctured a fuel tank as they gunned up the engines and took off again to make another circuit to make an emergency landing.

While banking over the town of Zabbar the aircraft exploded.

A very sad occurrence which, at the time, adversely affected feeling towards the British troops presence on the island. This was mostly by younger people, who were feeling agrieved at being 'occupied' and politicians who were trying to renegotiate rental for the various bases. To be fair to the politicians we had been paying the same low rent for decades but the increase demanded was just too much and RAF Luqa closed in September 1978, final troops leaving in 1979.

It was one of the best postings in the RAF, even I think so and I'd done Singapore, been to Penang, Gan, Masirah, visited Sri Lanka and Cyprus for sailing etc..... but loved, and still love, Malta.

Detailed account of the day is here - http://www.zabbarsanctuarymuseum.org/the-vulcan-xm645-tragedy.php

« Last Edit: March 08, 2015, 08:07:59 PM by djrose007 »
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Offline Joseph

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Re: XM645 - Zabbar, Malta
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2013, 06:43:48 PM »
David

Thanks for the information
That is very interesting and yet the similar problem arose 25 years later in France

Ruptured fuel tanks, acceleration and Delta wings.

Who says history does not repeat its self
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Offline arnk

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Re: XM645 - Zabbar, Malta
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2013, 12:34:15 PM »
Today is the anniversary of the Malta crash.

There is some info here

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20131014/local/vulcan-crash-tragedy-recalled.490286

Al

Offline BlueDave

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Re: XM645 - Zabbar, Malta
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2014, 02:15:49 PM »
The 2 extra guys in the back were C/T Gordon Barrow and Sgt. Atkins. Gordon was a senior crew chief who, I believe, was on his last overseas trip before retirement. Sgt. Atkins was a probationary crew chief on his first overseas trip. I was a Nav. Inst. JT on 9 Sqdn., at the time and, along with a crew chief, was the see-off crew for XM645. I didn't know anything about the loss until I saw the 9 o'clock news that evening. A very sad occasion.

As it will be the 40th anniversary next year I am hoping to visit Malta next October and pay my respects.

Offline djrose007

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Re: XM645 - Zabbar, Malta
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2014, 07:33:25 PM »
The 2 extra guys in the back were C/T Gordon Barrow and Sgt. Atkins. Gordon was a senior crew chief who, I believe, was on his last overseas trip before retirement. Sgt. Atkins was a probationary crew chief on his first overseas trip. I was a Nav. Inst. JT on 9 Sqdn., at the time and, along with a crew chief, was the see-off crew for XM645. I didn't know anything about the loss until I saw the 9 o'clock news that evening. A very sad occasion.

As it will be the 40th anniversary next year I am hoping to visit Malta next October and pay my respects.

Hello Dave, thanks for the information, I always thought one of the 'passengers' was an SAC who had just cadged a jolly.
Certainly was a very sad event. I have friends in Malta who were involved as they live in Zabbar. The Sanctuary Museum Zabbar, part of the Church, has a wing with wreckage, photographs, text information etc. about the crash. It's worth a visit particularly as you have a personal involvement in XM645.
I'm planning on being there late September for the Malta Internaltional Airshow, held at Luqa. The commercial airport continues operating while the airshow is on, quite a juggling act!
Best wishes
Dave Rose
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Offline rapidstart

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Re: XM645 - Zabbar, Malta
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2017, 09:35:20 PM »
We lost SAC Kim Petty-FitzMaurice when one of our No 3 Squadron Canberra B(I)8 crashed at Akrotiri in 1970.
Crew wer F.O's Gordon Ellis and Roddy McMillan.  Kim PFM was our Safety Equipment fitter who just 'went for a jolly' during sir firing at  Famagusta Range.   The crew got into troubles on return to Akrotiri and either through engine malfunction or turbulence lost control and rolled into the ground on the left of the runway!