A training film for RAF rescue and fire crews illustrating the many problems associated with search and crash rescue. A series of re-enactments are staged to illustrate the procedures required, one, a controlled crash in open countryside, the other shows the involvement of citizens when a Meteor aircraft crashes onto a shop. Neither event involved loss of life. The vital importance of speedy and accurate communication between the RAF and civilian authorities (police, fire and ambulance Brigades, GPO telephone network) is emphasised.
Film open to rescue vehicles speeding down a street, the public taking little notice until the next day's papers announce a Canberra has crashed injuring the pilot. Cut to pilot recovering in hospital who is grateful he was pulled unconscious out of the cockpit by the rescue team. The two crew bailed out safely when ordered by the pilot. The Canberra was flying at 10,000 ft. when the pilot advised RAF Air Traffic Control the aircraft was losing height rapidly and unable to reach his airfield, so he would attempt a controlled crash landing. Air Traffic control advise the pilot to go to a nearby disused airfield, Cadbury, whilst alerting the RAF mobile rescue team to proceed to Cadbury. Aerial view of the disused airfield seen. At a nearby farm an alert young boy notices the Canberra rapidly descending, tells the farmer who immediately telephones the Police, who in their turn, contact the Fire and Ambulance Brigades after speaking to Air Traffic Control. Both RAF and Civil authorities are travelling to Cadbury as a result of prompt communication between all concerned.
The film follows their progress to Cadbury, the Civilian team arrive first and assess the situation: no fire, pilot in cockpit, and no armaments. The Firemen open the cockpit emergency door and place the safety pin in the ejection seat, outside the aircraft the Fire tender sprays foam over the spilt aviation fuel. The RAF team arrive, checks the safety pin, and lift the pilot out, guided by the Medical Officer. The Fire Brigade depart and the RAF assume command. The two crew who bailed out are located and examined by the Medical Officer. All three have sustained only minor injuries. It was fortunate the crash occurred on a flat site (Wiltshire Downs) with good access. Rugged terrain, railways, power-lines, present their own problems, the most hazardous is a crash within an urban area.
A pilot is in trouble and cannot avoid crash landing on the edge of a built up area. The Meteor descends rapidly, and crashes onto the roof of Macgregors shop, igniting a fire. A woman passer by goes to a telephone box and alerts the 999 services. The Fire Brigade alerted, a sequence of alerts are passed down the line: Police, Scotland Yard, Police cars in the vicinity, Ambulance Service, Air Traffic control at Heathrow, RAF Traffic control, and a local RAF non operational Station. Civilian and RAF rescue services depart for the site of the crash.
Film cuts to Macgregors shop: the roof and first floor are demolished and on fire. A wing of the Meteor is embedded in the roof. Fire Brigade arrive, one crew evacuate the shop and check for casualties and deploy water hoses, while the other commence to spray foam over and around the aircraft. The cockpit canopy is chopped off and the ejection seat made safe. Pilot is not seriously injured and is lifted out to be taken away by ambulance. Efforts continue to douse the flames as the RAF rescue team arrive to assume responsibility for the aircraft. Police guard the aircraft to deter people seeking souvenirs. Shop fire now under control and several civilians are treated for their minor injuries. The various Chiefs of the rescue services confer, declare all persons counted for and the situation is now under control. Later, at the County Hall, after all the facts related to the incident have been established, the County Fire Chief, Mr A H Johnson, meets the RAF and Police authorities to discuss the incident, and thanks them for their co-ordinated and effective efforts. At a rescue training site, RAF and Civilian personnel maintain a close co-operation, and are seen testing new equipment. Men in fireproof suits and helmets are seen walking through flames from burning fuel to determine the durability of the suit.
The film closes with Mr E J C Williams, Air Ministry Principal Fire Service Officer addressing the camera. The purpose of the film is to illustrate the many aspects of search and rescue organisation when an aircraft crashes or force lands. Paramount is saving the life of a person who cannot save themselves.
- Related period
- 1945-1989 (content)
- Air Ministry (Production sponsor)
CAS Productions (Production company)
Collyer, Geoffrey (Production individual)
Kingsley Jones, Trefor (Production individual)
Selley, Ronald (Production individual)
HALL, JOHN (Production individual)
Howell, William (Production individual)
Purchese, John (Production individual)
Simpson, Etta (Production individual)
- Place made
whole: Number Of Items/reels/tapes 1
- Catalogue number
- AMY 311