12th January 1999

Channel Express Airways plane crashes in Guernsey

A Fokker F27–600 aircraft was destroyed and its crew of two killed when it clipped a house on Forest Road on its final approach to Guernsey Airport.

The aircraft had left Luton at 4.14pm and was carrying three tonnes of newspapers. Unfortunately, these had been improperly loaded, and as the plane approached the runway they had shifted within the fuselage, unbalancing the aircraft and causing it to rotate until its nose was pointing into the air. It was unable to recover, the consequences of which were fatal. It stalled, span and crashed. Both the plane and the house it crashed into caught fire, and while the occupant of the house escaped unhurt, those onboard the plane were killed.

Long-term effects

The Air Accident Investigation Board made seven recommendations in the wake of the crash including a modification of cargo loading practices – and that handling agents always ask for written instructions before starting work. While these could be implemented quite easily, the effects of the crash on Guernsey’s ecosystem were still being felt long after the first few days and weeks had passed.

The fire service had needed to use potentially toxic foam to douse the fire, which was later found to contain unsafe levels of acid. These had seeped into the field where the plane had come down, and although no remnants had entered the drinking water supply, they were detected at the pumping station at Petit Bot as late as 2013, as this was where the field drained.

After consultation, the decision was made to remove the top two metres of soil from the area. The same had been done with land closer to the airport the year before. Work on the removal began in March 2015 at a cost of £300,000.


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Other events that occured in January

Alderney elects its first president 1st
Guille and Alles open their library 2nd
Guernsey bans smoking in public places 3rd
Guernsey Press registers its domain 4th
Guernsey Zoo is sold as a going concern 5th
Guernsey opens its wartime files
Guernsey Police moves to its new headquarters 6th
Guernsey Fisher makes its maiden voyage 7th
Work begins on the Val des Terres 8th
A hotel porter goes on trial for murder 9th
Guernsey Police Service appoints its first inspector 10th
Royal theft inquiry heads to Guernsey 11th
Channel Express Airways plane crashes in Guernsey 12th
Sibyl Hathaway, Dame of Sark, is born 13th
Channel Television disappears 14th
Benefactor Osmond de Beauvoir Priaulx dies 15th
MV Prosperity is wrecked at Perelle 16th
Guernsey’s Royal Court sits for the first time 17th
Doctor Who travels to Guernsey 18th
Channel 4 gameshow Treasure Hunt comes to Guernsey 19th
Hanois Lighthouse is cut off by the weather 20th
Guernsey-built prototype plane crashes 21st
Guernsey Steam Tramway stops running 22nd
Radiant Med sinks with loss of life 23rd
Guernsey wins gold at the Commonwealth Games 24th
Sark is awarded Dark-Sky status 25th
Guernsey passengers are battered by storms 26th
Sir Isaac Newton has his say on a mysterious Guernsey invention 27th
Guernsey’s last witch trial takes place 28th
Guernsey poet George Métivier is born 29th
The States of Guernsey proposes a new airport 30th
Guernsey lifeboat performs a chemical tanker rescue 31st