ALL nine bodies of the RAF crewmen who died when their C130 Hercules
aircraft crashed in a remote Perthshire glen on Thursday during a
low-flying exercise have now been recovered, writes Bill Caven.
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Tayside police said yesterday that the remaining four bodies have now
been accounted for and removed from the crash site at the foot of Beinn
a' Ghlo, just north of Blair Atholl.
They were immediately transported to the mortuary at Dundee Royal
Infirmary to join the five other bodies taken there earlier. Those who
died were three pilots, two navigators, two engineers, and two from
Police said: ''The remaining four bodies were recovered late yesterday
afternoon and have since been removed from the crash site to Dundee.''
Photographers and identification branch officers from Tayside police
have also now completed their work at the crash scene. Forensic
scientists from the police laboratory at Dundee are also involved.
However, poor weather and visibility around the 3675ft hill, which
overlooks Loch Loch, continued seriously to hamper yesterday's
investigation to determine the cause of the accident.
Specialists from the RAF board of inquiry team have now been joined by
air accident investigators from the Department of Trade, based in
Farnborough, to find out what happened on the flight.
The Hercules transport plane had been flying from RAF Lyneham in
Wiltshire to RAF Lossiemouth in Grampian when it came down.
A number of theories are currently being explored by the experts,
whose task is also being hindered by the fact that the aircraft was not
equipped with a ''black box'', which records all flight details.
The possibilities include pilot error, a mass bird strike, freak gust
of wind, or a control system failure, which would cause a sudden dip.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence in London refused to be drawn
yesterday on the theories, commenting: ''The inquiry is continuing and
it is likely to do so for some time yet until they are satisfied that
all the questions have been sufficiently answered.''
As police and RAF personnel maintained their 24-hour guard around the
wreckage, it was revealed that a number of witnesses have been
interviewed by police.
Tayside Chief Superintendent Jim Mackay, who is in charge of the
police operation, appealed for any other members of the public with
information surrounding the accident to come forward.
Squadron Leader Stanley Muir, who was killed in the Hercules crash,
was a dedicated flier, his sister, Mrs Elizabeth Peacock, said last
''That was his whole life. It was the job he had always wanted to
do,'' she said at her home at Balerno, Midlothian.
Her brother had spent 31 years in the RAF after joining at 18. As a
pupil at George Heriot's School, he joined the RAF Cadets.
Mrs Peacock said that her brother had flown all over the world and was
involved in the Gulf war, dropping supplies to the Kurds.
Squadron Leader Muir, 49, a navigator, is survived by his wife Maureen
and daughters Katherine, 23, and Fiona, 22. Their home is near the RAF
base at Lyneham.