Douglas Dakota EI-AFL “Saint Kevin”, of Aer Lingus, crashed in Cwm Edno near Dolwyddelan on the 10th January 1952
|James Richard Keohane||Captain||Pilot||Killed|
|William A. Newman||1st Officer||Co-pilot||Killed|
|Maire Deirdre Sutton||Miss||Stewardess||Killed|
|Neville G Aston||Mr||Passenger||Killed|
|John W. P. Benson||Mr||Passenger||Killed|
|Thomas J. Carroll||Mr||Passenger||Killed|
|Gerald Towney S. Fitzgerald||Mr||Passenger||Killed|
|James C. Gaffney||Doctor||Passenger||Killed|
|William M. Good||Mr||Passenger||Killed|
|Richard Laker||Captain||Passenger (Pilot)||Killed|
|Sharon Melody Laker||Miss||Passenger||Killed|
|William Arthur Lynch||Mr||Passenger||Killed|
|Phyllis M. Noakes||Miss||Passenger||Killed|
|Daniel J. O’Donovan||Doctor||Passenger||Killed|
|Henry C. Richardson||Mr||Passenger||Killed|
|John Francis Stackpool||Mr||Passenger||Killed|
|Emil D. Stone||Mr||Passenger||Killed|
|Lily E. Wenman||Miss||Passenger||Killed|
|Arthur H. Whiteside||Mr||Passenger||Killed|
EI-AFL had taken off from Northolt in London on a scheduled passenger service to Dublin with twenty passengers and three crew onboard. The flight took off from Northolt at 17:25 and was to fly to Daventry near Northampton before heading to Dublin via the Nefyn beacon. The crew reported passing the Daventry beacon at 17:56 with an ETA at their next reporting point over the Welsh coast at Nefyn on the northern side of the Lleyn Peninsular at 19:10. At 19:12 the crew reported they had reached the Nefyn area at 6,500ft, in all likelihood they were to the north of their intended track by a few miles, no further radio messages were received from the aircraft. Three minutes after their last message the aircraft was heard passing over the Nant Gwynant valley from the south west and shortly after it dived into boggy ground in Cwm Edno just over Bwlch y Rhediad towards Dolwyddelan killing all onboard.
The exact cause of the crash was not determined by a Court of Inquiry which was held in April 1952. What was found was that the crew had lost control of the aircraft shortly after sending their last message and that in the final stages of the dive part of the starboard wing had broken away from the aircraft, this landed about 200 yards from the rest of the aircraft. The probable causes were turbulance, which was reported by other pilots flying the same on the 10th January or icing. Moderate icing had also been reported at 6,500 feet over North Wales.
Following the crash an effort was made to recover as many of the victims as possible from the extremely boggy ground. Of those recovered it is recorded that only ten of the victims could be identified. An inquest was held at Caernarfon on the 28th January, having been adjorned from the 14th, and the following day the nine unidentified bodies which had been found were intered in a single grave at Caernarfon. The headstone bears the names of twelve, as it was obviously not known which of the missing had been buried at Caernarfon. A fence was erected around the crash site and wreckage left on the site, however a it was later decided by the Snowdonia National Park to clear the site with the fence and wreckage being removed and a plaque was mounted on a near by rock outcrop. The crash site itself was concecrated by a funeral service held at the site on the 17th January 1952 while recovery efforts were still ongoing. Oddly the stated number of identified victims and the twelve named on the grave at Caernarfon do not add up to the number onboard the aircraft, being short by one, which implies that an eleventh victim was identified.
As would be expected with an international flight there were people of more than one nationality onboard, most of the victims were Irish citizens, two were British, one South African and two American. One of those was a naturalised citizen who had been born in Ireland while the other had been born in the USA, and was an employee of the US Atomic Energy Commission at the Los Alamos laboratories in New Mexico.