Accident Handley Page Victor K.1A XH618, Monday 24 March 1975
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Date:Monday 24 March 1975
Type:Silhouette image of generic hpvi model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Handley Page Victor K.1A
Owner/operator:57 Sqn RAF
Registration: XH618
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 5
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:North Sea, 95 miles East of Sunderland, County Durham. -   United Kingdom
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:RAF Marham
Destination airport:RAF Marham
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
The aircraft collided with RAF Buccaneer XV156 during simulated air-to-air refuelling. The Buccaneer struck the Victor tanker's tailplane causing the tanker to pitch nose down beyond the vertical, and out of control.

The pilot Flt Lt Keith Handscombe was able to reach the seat pan handle of his ejection seat and escaped with spinal and ankle injuries. The co-pilot and rear cabin crew were unable to overcome the high negative G force and died in the crash.

Buccaneer XV156 was part of a 3 ship flight that was practising in flight refuelling. XV156's pilot was new to the Buccaneer and it was decided that the first few contacts would be "Dry" connections, no fuel taken on. XV156's first contact with the starboard hose was successful and he then moved to try a connection on the port side hose. On this occasion, XV156 approached too fast and at the last moment, he realised that a collision was imminent.

He pulled back on the column and the probe hit the basket at the end of the hose but the aircraft was still going quite fast and it climbed between the trailing edge of the port wing and the leading edge of the tail plane.

At this point XV156 stalled and came down on the port side of the tail plane causing it to detach and causing XH618 to nose dive into the sea. XH618's captain, Flt Lt Handscombe ejected shortly before he reached the cloud tops.

The four crew members that were killed were later named as

Flight Lieutenant David Hallam CROWTHER
Flight Lieutenant Peter Joseph Leo SLATTER
Flying Officer Terence Patrick EVANS
Flying Officer John Arthur PRICE

The bodies of the above four crew nor the wreckage of the Victor were never recovered. The sole survivor (Flt Lt Keith Handscombe) died peacefully of natural causes in 2009


1. Air Britain: RAF Aircraft XA100 - XZ999, published 2001
2. Handley Page Victor: The Crescent-Winged V-Bomber (Aerofax)


Revision history:

11-Sep-2008 21:03 angels one five Added
30-Apr-2009 00:01 angels one five Updated
27-Feb-2010 06:21 Anon. Updated [Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
22-Aug-2011 09:09 Uli Elch Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]
01-Jan-2012 22:21 sirjames111 Updated [Phase, Source, Narrative]
07-May-2012 13:57 harro Updated [Source, Embed code]
25-Sep-2012 02:41 Nepa Updated [Operator, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
24-Jun-2013 10:10 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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