Cessna 172M G-BXLJ, crashed between Moel Sych and Cadair Berwyn on the 12th February 1999


Mr Stephen Victor Mole Pilot (Instructor) Killed
Mr Gareth Edward Newton Pilot Killed
Miss Fiona Mary McWilliam Passenger Killed

The aircraft had been hired from Welshpool airfield by Mr Newton, as he had not flown for nearly 11 weeks he was required by the owner, who required flight experience within the preceding 4 weeks, to be accompanied by an Instructor as aircraft commander.

It took off around 15:15 and flew in a north westerly direction, secondary radar data showed it flying on a track of 343oM climbing from 1500ft to 2000ft before it descended into the Afon Rhaeadr valley near Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochant. The aircraft was seen flying up the valley below the level of the surrounding the hills.

It again appeared on radar when it climbed back through 2000ft and was tracked climbing to just over 2300 feet when it passed Llyn Lluncaws. At this point the aircraft’s forward speed had dropped from 85 kts to 45 kts. The final radar contact at just short of 15:37 was at over 2500ft. The aircraft crashed close to this point at an altitude of close to 2600 feet.

When the aircraft had failed to return to Welshpool by 16:30 staff at the airfield began to get concerned for its safety and after informing the airfield manager shortly before 17:00 and attempting to make contact by radio alerted the appropriate services. Local airports checked their radar data and noted that one contact had disappeared north west of Welshpool and the notified Mountain Rescue Teams in the area and the RAF Search & Rescue flight at Valley.

The wreckage of the aircraft was found by one of the ground teams in the early hours of the following morning, the aircraft had struck the very steep ground above Llyn Lluncaws and rolled back down the hill for nearly 200 feet.

Memorial commemorating Fiona McWilliam on Moel Sych near the crash site of Cessna G-BXLJ
Beside the path from Moel Sych to Cadair Berwyn is this memorial to the aircraft’s passenger.
Memorial commemorating Fiona McWilliam on Moel Sych near the crash site of Cessna G-BXLJ
Looking towards Cadair Berwyn with the memorial about 1/3 the way along the small outcrop.
Crash site of Cessna 172 G-BXLJ on Moel Sych, Berwyn
The aircraft itself crashed into this area of the slope below the memorial. The outcrop in the foreground had small paint smears on it in the months following the crash but these have since weathered off.
Moel Sych seen from Llyn Lluncaws
Looking back towards the crash site from Llyn Lluncaws.