Piper Cherokee G-AZYP crashed on Illgill Head above Wastwater on the 25th March 1973
|Mr Graham George Austin||Pilot||Killed|
|Mr Stephen Roy Rogerson||Passenger||Killed|
|Mr Mervyn Douglas Chappell||Passenger||Killed|
|Mr Anthony Roger Williams||Passenger||Killed|
On the 24th March 1973 a party of 20 set out from Blackpool in six aircraft to Kirkbride on the Solway coast of Cumbria to attend a social gathering at the White Heather Club. They stayed overnight at the hotel adjacent to the airfield, planning to return to Blackpool the following morning. During breakfast a weather report was obtained from Blackpool, Kirkbride had no ATC or Met facilities, and the group discussed the weather and the need to avoid flying into clouds while following the coast south as they would probably contain an unseen ‘hard centre’.
G-AZYP was the third of the aircraft to take off at about 10:00, Mr Austin briefly spoke to another aircraft by radio and was seen by the occupants of a third. They reported that after flying close together G-AZYP descended and made a turn inland towards the cloud covered high ground, it was seen flying low over the outlying hills, probably so the four occupants could do some sight-seeing. It was last seen passing over a ridge, shortly before 10:30 people in Wasdale heard an aircraft approaching followed by the sound of an impact. A witness saw rocks cascading down the scree slopes below Illgill Head, though the upper slopes were obscured by low cloud. A search party was gathered and before long wreckage was discovered on Illgill Head.
The aircraft had impacted approximately 50 feet below the top of the hill and fallen back down the steep crags onto the very top of the screes where there was sign of a brief fire, all four occupants had died upon impact.