Culture
A dark day for Malta: 46 years ago, a Zabbar plane crash claimed six lives
The aircraft’s pilots were lucky enough to remain relatively unscathed.

Benjamin Abela

46 years ago today, Malta witnessed an accident so deadly that it claimed permanent residence in the country’s history books.

On 14th October in 1975, an Avro Vulcan B.2 – that is, a military aircraft – was flying from the RAF’s base in Waddington, England to Luqa.

As the Vulcan was making its landing in Malta, it unintentionally undershot the runway and sheared off its undercarriage, at which point the aircraft became airborne again.

The plane’s second pilot, captain Alcock, then took over from first pilot captain Alexander to try and regain altitude and attempt another landing – but it was too late.

At that point, fire had broken out on one of the plane’s wings and all hope for a safe landing was promptly lost.

As the fire consumed the plane mid-air, the two pilots ejected. Soon after, the Vulcan exploded, killing the five crew members that were left on board.

But that wasn’t the end of this harrowing ordeal.

After the aircraft exploded, its debris fell over Zabbar’s main street and exploded upon impact. This caused the death of one bystander – 48-year-old Vincenza Zammit – and injured around 20 others.

Apart from that, countless houses, shops, and cars suffered serious damage.

Footage published by Malta Audio Visual Memories on Facebook shows the harrowing aftermath of the crash, as Zabbar residents, firefighters, and politicians reacted to the incident.

14th October 2021


Benjamin  Abela
Written by
Benjamin Abela
Benjamin is a Writer at Content House Group. With his background in journalism, marketing, and the arts, Benjamin enjoys finding the human aspect to any story he gets a hold of. When he's not too busy writing his next article, you could probably find him playing with his cats or performing on a stage.

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