1953 Mediterranean Sea mid-air collision

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1953 Mediterranean Sea mid-air collision
Date 15 January 1953
Summary Mid-air collision
Site over the Strait of Sicily
Total fatalities 26
Total injuries 0
Total survivors 0
First aircraft
Type Vickers Valetta C1
Operator Royal Air Force
Registration VX562
Flight origin RAF Luqa
Passengers 16
Crew 3
Fatalities 19
Injuries 0
Second aircraft
Type Avro Lancaster GR3
Operator Royal Air Force
Registration TX270
Crew 7
Fatalities 7
Injuries 0
Survivors 0

On 15 January 1953, a twin-engined Vickers Valetta transport aircraft of the Royal Air Force (RAF), serial number VX562, collided over the Mediterranean Sea with a four-engined RAF Avro Lancaster maritime patrol aircraft. All 26 people on board both aircraft were killed.[1]


The Valetta had departed RAF Luqa with 16 passengers (15 airmen and one Royal Navy (RN) sailor) on a return flight to the United Kingdom.[2] Just before 05:00, the Valleta was between Pantelleria and Sicily when it collided with the Lancaster in poor visibility and heavy rain. [2]

The Lancaster from No. 38 Squadron RAF was following HMS Gambia and other RN ships on an anti-submarine exercise.[2] The seven crew on the Lancaster and all on board the Valetta were killed.[2]

Rescue and aftermath

HMS Gambia and other ships were used to search the scene for survivors, but only wreckage was found. Later the destroyer HMS Chieftain was dispatched to search east of Pantelleria after a note case belonging to one of the Lancaster crew was found, without success.[2]


The court of inquiry decided that the weather conditions at the time were a factor with localized thunderstorms, heavy rain and hail and no blame could be attached to any individual. Evidence did reveal that although the Malta Flight Information Centre was not in possession of full information on the Lancaster's sortie, it was not a contributory cause.[3]


  1. ^ Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
  2. ^ a b c d e "R.A.F. Aircraft In Collision". The Times (52521). London. 16 January 1953. col D, p. 6. 
  3. ^ "Accident Details". /www.planecrashinfo.com. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 

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