On the 10th April 1973 twenty villagers set off from Bristol’s Lulsgate airport on an exciting trip to Basle in Switzerland. In heavy snow the Vickers Vanguard aircraft, operated by Invicta International Airlines, hit the hillside 300 metres south of the Herrenmatt hamlet, Hochwald, Switzerland. Of the 145 people on board only 37 survived. All 20 passengers from Congresbury lost their lives including 5 members of my family with almost every local business affected.
On the 40th anniversary, a small memorial plaque and three wooden seats were placed within the church yard at St Andrew’s church where our family and friends were laid to rest.
For the 50th anniversary of the disaster, a large crowdfunder project was launched to replace the benches, replace the plaque with a new larger one that includes the names of the Congresbury villagers who tragically lost their lives and create a rose garden as a living lasting tribute to them.
A 50th Anniversary Service was planned in Congresbury which is available to view here. Followed by the dedication of the new Memorial Rose Garden, which is also available to view here.
There was also a service held in Basle in Switzerland to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of which we have some photographs below.
The candles in the shape of a heart contain 108 candles, one for each victim of the disaster.
In Congresbury, we too lit candles to remember those who were lost from our village.
Further details about the disaster, the victims and survivors can be found at the dedicated website swissairdisaster.uk
Last Updated 15/05/2023