Chapters

July 1st 2019. Interview with Slovenian journalist.

On the 7th June last I received the following email.

Dear Mr. Gatfords !

My name is Jana Kobal. I am a journalist from Slovene commercial TV station Pop tv. I’m preparing a story about Slovene aircrash investigators. Becuse the plane accident that happened in 1966 near Brnik, the one that you survived, was the only passenger plane accident on the territory of Slovenia, I will include it in the story.

Mrs. Brigita Zorc gave me your contact.

I kindly ask you, would you be prepared to tell me a few words about the accident, how you dealt with it afterwards and why have you decided to visit Slovenia again. We can do it on Skype.   

Looking forward to hearing from you

             Jana Kobal

I contacted Jana and arranged to have an interview with her on Skype this morning, July 1st. She is going to incorporate the interview in a TV programme for Pop TV. She said that she will send me a link to the programme when it is broadcast and also a transcript, in English.

I will make a new post to the blog when I get this information.

Michael Gatford

July 1st 2019

Update November 2018

On March 17th 2018 the following comment from Carole Bell-Court (nee Alexander) was posted to the blog.

I am also a survivor of this air crash. Carole Alexander was my name then and I was 16 and lost both my parents.

This is the first time since leaving the hospital in Ljubljana in 1966 that I have ever “talked to” someone else who survived the crash.

Since then I have had several fairly lengthy email conversations with Carole and she has provided a somewhat harrowing account of her experience. Unlike me, but like my mother, she was conscious throughout and experienced the full horror of the crash. I have always thought that I was lucky in that I was, physically, on the mend before I regained consciousness.

The text that is published on the site can be found by following the link:

Memories of another survivor

It is an almost word-for-word account of what Carole sent to me. I have only edited it a little to fit on pages better.

Michael Gatford

29th November 2108

 

 

Update 8th March 2018

I have added a new contribution by my cousin Teri: My visit to the Ljubljana Air Disaster Memorial.

In addition, over the last couple of months I have received some lovely comments by various people. These can be found on the pages:

  1. Other people’s memories
  2. Update, November 15th 2017
  3. Personal recollections
  4. It is now 51 years on.

It feels wrong to pick out any of these in particular but the one from Peter George was very gratifying to receive. Peter is the nephew of Winifred Woolley who, together with her husband Fred and her daughter Dianne, were family friends who were travelling with us. They all died.

Michael Gatford

8th March 2018

Introducing myself.


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.

The main sections are shown in the menu to the right (or at the bottom if you are viewing this on a tablet or phone). There are links to further pages in each section, either in the body or at the bottom of each of these pages. Comments may be left on this and other pages.

Michael Gatford

Introduction

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.

The main sections are shown in the menu to the right (or at the bottom if you are viewing this on a tablet or phone). There are links to further pages in each section, either in the body or at the bottom of each of these pages. Comments may be left on this and other pages.

NOTE: If you choose to “Follow” the blog/site (you will find a “Follow” button at the bottom right of this home page) you will be alerted whenever I update the site. I will add a blog post whenever I make changes and this will be emailed to you.

Michael Gatford