Do you remember these Yorkshire disasters?

editorial image

A Yorkshire author is looking to trace people with memories of three lesser-known disasters to have occurred in the county.

Richard Jones, from Bridlington, has already campaigned to have a memorial erected for the victims of the 1995 Lockington rail crash, near Driffield, and has written books about several other man-made catastrophes around the UK.

He is keen to speak to those who have memories of the three disasters he is currently researching - whether survivors, relatives, rescue workers or witnesses.

If you have any information, contact Richard at shipwreckdata@yahoo.co.uk

Dunkeswick plane crash, 1995

Twelve people died when a small commuter aircraft crashed into a field on the Harewood estate shortly after taking off from Leeds Bradford Airport in a storm.

The aircraft, en route to Aberdeen and operated by Knight Air, came down close to the A61 at Dunkeswick, killing all on board.

The pilot had radioed LBA and asked to return to the airport just two minutes after take-off, before vanishing from radar. Those on board were mostly from Aberdeen - the flight was a regular scheduled taxi service between Southampton and the Scottish city, via a stop-off at Leeds Bradford - and were mainly business travellers.

The plane crashed into a cornfield, disintegrated on impact and left bodies and debris scattered over a 300-yard radius. Drinkers at the nearby Harewood Arms mistook the explosion for thunder, and a witness described hearing the plane's engines revving hard before it flew over a rise. He then heard the bang as it crashed.

At the time, there was confusion as to why the plane had encountered difficulties, as weather conditions at LBA had been approved for take-off. There was low cloud and rain, and the pilot would have been flying using instruments at the time.

An Air Accident Investigation Branch report found that one or both artificial horizons in the aircraft failed, leading to loss of control by the pilots and the plane entering a spiral dive.

Sowerby Bridge lorry disaster, 1993

Six people died in the town when a runaway lorry collided with a BT van and ploughed into a post office. The tipper truck's brakes were later found to have been excessively worn before the crash.

A young mother and her two-year-old daughter were among the dead, and the other victims from the post office were all female. The lorry driver and a BT engineer in the van also died.

One local school, Bolton Brow Primary, had six pupils who lost a mother in the tragedy. All of the women who were killed were local to Sowerby Bridge.

Sinking of the Pilsudski in the North Sea, 1939

The ship was a medium-sized Polish ocean liner which had plied the trans-atlantic route to New York before war broke out. From 1939, she was requisitioned as a troop transport ship under Allied command. On only her first wartime voyage, she left Newcastle--upon-Tyne and hit a mine in the North Sea, close to Flamborough Head.

Her crew abandoned her - although it was later thought she could have been saved - and she sank in the Humber, where the wreck remains.

Very few lives were lost - the fourth engineer was killed during the evacuation, and the captain died of exhaustion and hypothermia soon after rescue.

The real tragedy was symbolic - Pilsudski's fate was likened to the Titanic (although she had made many peacetime voyages) and her loss was greatly mourned.