Date: April 5th, 1948
Where: Berlin, Germany
Report No.: Not Available
Report Date: -
This is not an accident investigation report.
The crash occurred shortly after the start of the Berlin Airlift
operation. Due to the "Political" tensions/frictions at the time,
in an attempt to have the Allies
withdraw from Berlin entirely, it was quite commonplace for Soviet
fighter escorts to fly dangerously close to both military and civillian
Both sides early on had agreed to sectors in which their respective
aircraft could fly. Apparently, the Soviet fighter had crossed into
Allied territory near the Gatow airfield which was located to the south
west of Berlin. There was a Soviet airfield adjacent to Gatow airfield.
The Soviets had initally stated that the Yak fighter was attempting a
landing at that field when is struck the Vickers Viking transport
aircraft, killing all 10 passengers and the crew of 4 Royal Air Force
members. The Soviet pilot was also killed.
Russian troops were the first to arrive on scene, and quickly
cordoned off the area, refusing to allow any British troops into the
scene for several hours. The day after the crash, the Soviet Union
apologized for the incident and agreed to relax their patrol flights.
Both British and American sources stated that Soviet fighter pilots were
given orders to "fly in a provocative manner" near Allied traffic.
On April 6th, the allies closed all traffic between the Allied and
Soviet sectors after the death of a Russian lieutenant in the British
sector. The restriction was in effect for over a week, and was lifted
after tensions had cooled.
The New York Times listed the passengers and crew of the Vickers
Viking transport as follows:
John Ralph, pilot
Norman Merrington, co-pilot
Charles Mamser, radio operator
Leonard G. Goodman, steward
Sgt. Pasquale E. Pintus, Ohio USA
Mrs. Frances Ruth Clough, Michigan USA
Robert Collier, England
J.K. Shea, Putney England
J.E. Roberts, England
S.J. Stocking, Mitcham England
Waldemar Hald, Sydney Australia
No name was given for the Soviet pilot.
Thanks to Tim Hufnell for his research assistance in compiling this report.
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