I am Michael Gatford, a survivor of the air crash that occurred in the early hours of the 1st September 1966 at Brnik Airport, Ljubljana, Slovenia, (then a region of Yugoslavia). 98 people died in one of the most tragic aviation accidents in Slovenia. September 1st 2016 was the 50th anniversary of the air crash.
As explained on the page Returning to Ljubljana: 50 years on, I discovered late in 2016 that in September that year a memorial to commemorate the 50th anniversary had been erected by the Ljubljana Airport and Fire Department authorities on the site of the crash. An unveiling ceremony had taken place on 13th September 2016. I decided then that I would return to Ljubljana to visit the memorial to honour my father and two sisters who had died.
I have always felt that what happened to my family was private and publicly expressing my feelings was somewhat self-indulgent. However, several people have told me that I should write about my experience as this tragic event never gets mentioned in the UK media.
I am using this blog and website to record information, thoughts and feelings that have been re-kindled by my recent discoveries and return to Slovenia, and to possibly connect with others who have been affected by the crash.
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3 thoughts on “Introduction”
Hello I have just discovered your blog and am moved to read the memories and comments. I am also excited to discover people who were actually in the crash. My aunt, Elaine Lucille Johnson, was an air hostess on the plane and was killed. I was 12 at the time. I remember my mother coming into my room to tell me. We were beyond shocked. I would very much like to hear if anyone remembers her (I recall in one memory a lady spoke of a dark-haired air hostess who ministered to her but who tragically died of her injuries a while later). My aunt was tallish, very attractive with dark hair. She was 21 at the time of the crash. Many thanks. Jackie Johnson
I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to reply to you. I did receive notification that you had made a comment but for some reason didn’t get round to replying. I’m afraid that I don’t remember anything about the cabin crew but you are right in that another survivor, Carol Bell-Court, did talk about about a hostess who had helped her.
I will look at the information that I have gathered over the years, mostly from newspaper clippings around the period of the crash, and see what I can find out.
Thank you for replying and I will get back to you soon.
I have been through the only list of passengers that I could find from a Daily Telegraph newspaper clipping dated 1st September 1966. Your aunt Lucille is listed. She must’ve been the person who was helping a small group of survivors while they were waiting for help to arrive. If you look at the entry made by Carol Bell-Court (Carol Alexander at the time) you will see that your aunt left quite an impression on her.
Very best wishes,