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Author Topic: Wibault in the water  (Read 154 times)
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pomme homme
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« on: March 26, 2017, 17:51:54 PM »

On 9 May 1934 F-AMHP, a Wibault 282T-12 triplane of the nascent Air France, was on a scheduled flight between Paris le Bourget and London Croydon Aerodromes. It left the French mainland over Dieppe in poor visibility and low cloud. Its last contact was at 12:19 when it was 12 miles SSE of Dungeness. Other than a mail bag that it was carrying, which subsequently was washed up on the French coast, no trace of the aeroplane or its six occupants - three crew and three passengers - was ever found, despite an extensive sea search (including the Folkestone lifeboat) being carried out (albeit in thick fog). It is suggested that in an attempt to fly below the cloud, the pilot descended to a very low altitude. If so, presumably the Wibault hit the surface of the sea and thus was lost. The crew were Fran├žois Cannet (pilot), Joseph Ollier (navigator) and Myles (some sources say Anthony) Murphy (steward). The passengers were the Comte de Neuville (some sources say Neufville), a M. Guichard and Arthur Louis Fraissard.
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John
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2017, 08:23:50 AM »

I had a quick search of the BNA, one of the items that came up was a Reuters report from Paris, dated 18th May, that said that the body of M. Fraissard had been found on the beach near Fort Mahon, about 28 miles south of Boulogne.  The body showed signs of burns, some bones were fractured, and the right leg was missing.  The "neatly-rolled leather kit" of the pilot was found on a beach at Le Crotoy.
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pomme homme
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2017, 09:28:01 AM »

Thank you, John. I should have spent more time on the primary sources. Les Ailes of 24 May 1934 carries a report in similar terms to that of Reuter. It reports that:

- a mailbag was washed up on the coast between Onival and les Quatre-Chalets; and
- the flight effects of the pilot were found on the beach at Crotoy; and
- the corpse of M Fraissard was discovered at Fort Mahon.

M Brun, the Continental Lines Director of Air France, together with Pilot Portal, had been to Fort Mahon to salute the body of the only victim to have been recovered as of that date.

The same periodical reported, on 21 June 1934, that posthumous awards of the Order of the Nation had been made to the pilot and the navigator, MM Cannet and Ollier.

I can find no further mention, in this periodical, of the crash and so I must assume that the sea gave up no more.
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John
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2017, 18:16:47 PM »

Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald - Saturday 12 May 1934

AIR LINER LOST IN THE CHANNEL. Lifeboats' Fruitless Search. DUNGENESS BOAT OUT FIVE HOURS.
A FRENCH air liner was lost in the Channel early on Wednesday afternoon whilst on her way to Croydon from Paris. The machine, one of a three-engined type belonging to Air France, was carrying three passengers in addition to her crew of three which included the pilot, M. Cannet, who was a very experienced airman.

ASKED FOR POSITION
The air liner reported that she was leaving the French coast for England a few minutes after noon on Wednesday. A short while after the pilot asked for his position by wireless, there being a considerable amount of fog in mid-Channel. Nothing more was heard from the machine after this, and when she was overdue at Croydon anxiety for her safety increased.

It was not until the afternoon, however, that a definite clue to the whereabouts of the missing aeroplane was obtained, and it was contained in a brief message wirelessed to Croydon by a searching machine that what appeared to be aircraft wreckage had been seen some 12 miles south east by east of Dungeness Point.

The coastguards then called out the Dungeness motor lifeboat, the Charles Cooper Henderson, which was launched at 5.20 p.m. with the Assistant Coxswain, Mr. J. Oiller, a brother of Mr. C. Oiller, the Coxswain, in charge. Mr. C. Oiller was away fishing at the time.

DOVER LIFEBOAT LAUNCHED
A little later Dover's lifeboat, the Sir William Hilary, which is specially fitted for giving assistance to aircraft in distress, also left her station. Other vessels, including a French lifeboat from Boulogne and a French tug also hurried to the spot indicated in the message. The work of the searching vessels was made more difficult by fog which was very dense in places, the Dover lifeboat at one time reporting visibility at no more than 15 yards. It was not until several hours later that it was learned that the lifeboats were returning, having found no trace of the lost air liner

"WE HAVE FOUND NOTHING"
Shortly after 10 p.m. the Dungeness boat returned to her station at the Point. "We have found nothing," said Mr. J. Oiller. "We made a search over a very wide area and got very near to Boulogne at one time. We made contact with a French tug which was searching but they had been no more successful than us. The fog was very thick at times and hampered our work."

The Dover lifeboat arrived back just before midnight. She had made a very wide search, too, without result.
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