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HUNT  FOR  COMET  WRECKAGE

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NAVAL  SALVAGE  PLAN

 Mr Lennox-Boyd, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, left London Airport for Rome last night to learn at first hand of the problems still confronting those  engaged in the search for the B.O.A.C. Comet, which crashed in the Mediterranean, off Elba, last Sunday.
 Before leaving, Mr Lennox-Boyd said that any part of the Comet recovered would probably be sent back to Farnborough for research.
 The Admiralty stated yesterday that Admiral Lord Mountbatten,  Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, had undertaken the coordination of efforts to find and salve the wreck.
 The frigate Wrangler, an anti-submarine vessel, which is fitted with Asdic, the underwater detection apparatus, and H.M.S. Sursay, a vessel employed for the laying of small marker buoys at sea, are sailing from Malta to the scene and are expected to arrive on Wednesday. The salvage vessel Sea Salvor and boom defence vessel, Barhill, will sail from Malta when gear is loaded.
 An Admiralty spokesman said last night that naval television equipment was being prepared to be flown out, either to Malta or to Italy, as requested from the scene of operations.


  Royal Navy frigate Wrangler

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The B.O.A.C. stated on Saturday that no structural weakness had been found in any of the Comet aircraft which have been examined at London Airport. The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation have announced that a public inquiry will be held into the disaster.

SERVICE  AT  SEA

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MINISTER   TO  ATTEND

From our own Correspondent   Rome, Jan 17  The funeral service for 10 of the victims of last Sunday’s Comet disaster, which was to have been held to-day at Porto Azzurro, the Elban fishing village where the bodies were landed when recovered from the sea, has been postponed until to-morrow, as has the service which it is planned to hold at sea over the place where the Comet is believed to have plunged into the water.
 Mr Lennox-Boyd, Minister of Transport, is to attend both services. The remains of the other five victims on Elba have been claimed by the relatives, and will be taken from the island for the last rites according to their respective faiths.
 The last six of the 15 bodies recovered are now reported to have been identified as those of Captain V Wolfson, R.N.V.R. of the B.O.A.C., who joined the Comet at Bangkok;  Mr J Steel, stated to be a former heavyweight  boxing champion of the British Army, who joined at Singapore, Mr GB Grilly, of the B.O.A.C.; and Miss H Yateen, aged 17, who joined at Bahrain; and Mr J Ramsden and Mr D Leaver, who joined at Beirut.
 An Italian company which has the requisite equipment has been asked to try to establish the exact location of the wreckage of the Comet.  If this can be pinpointed, salvage will certainly be attempted by British vessels, probably from Malta, whence recovery units are already reported to have been instructed to proceed to Elba. The approximate position was ascertained by the Italian commission of inquiry before it turned over responsibility for further investigation to the British authorities.
 Senior officials of the Philippine Airlines have arrived here from Manilla and America to assist in the investigation of the accident on Thursday when a DC6 airliner of that company crashed a few miles from Ciampino airport.
 At least outwardly, this accident  appears to bear little resemblance to that of the Comet (which some newspapers are trying to link in theories of “double sabotage”, based partly on Elba reports that the doctors  who conducted the autopsies remarked that the bodies of the Comet victims showed signs of lacerations of the lower limbs as if from a powerful explosion from below.)
 

From:  THE  TIMES   18th January 1954    page 6

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