Basel plane crash: North Somerset memorial garden remembers victims 50 years on

  • Watch Max Walsh's report

A memorial garden has been created in a North Somerset village to mark 50 years since the Basel air crash, which killed more than 100 people.

The plane, which took off from Bristol Airport on 10 April 1973 was mostly carrying mothers from Congresbury on an organised trip to Switzerland.

The plane got caught in a snow storm and missed the runway in Basel and crashed into trees, killing 108 people.

Twenty of those 108 people were from the village of Congresbury. None of them survived.

In the village, the news slowly filtered home and relatives flew out to Basel to identify the dead through their possessions.

Their bodies were brought back home to the village and funerals were held one after the other.

'It was just like a nightmare'

Rosemarie Pitts, who lost five relatives, said: "I didn't sleep, looked at photographs and then the next morning turned on the radio for the first news report of the day.

Funerals for those who died happened one after the other

"They actually gave out a survivors list and there was our family name on there.

"I can remember being told there were two names of survivors that were a mistake. It was just like a nightmare really, unbelievable.

"The day of our funeral there were five hearses outside our house, it was almost surreal."

'Funerals were everywhere'

Sue Cooke lost twelve relatives in the crash, including her parents. She told ITV News West Country: "It was a shock to find that the plane had gone into the mountains, but of course when you knew where they were sat it was all real.

"We just got through each day. Funerals were everywhere. Now it seems a long time ago, but it's not a long time ago."

The memorial garden commemorating those who died stands outside of St Andrew's Church in Congresbury.

It features the names of those killed, for generations to come to remember them.

It was fundraised by local residents living in the village, and the names of all of those who died feature on a plaque.

A memorial service will be held at the church on 11 April.