Memorial held in Spain to remember East Lancashire victims of Dan Air 1970 plane tragedy

An emotional ceremony has been held in Spain to remember the 112 people, many from East Lancashire, who lost thier lives in a Spanish air crash.

Even after 52 years, the 112 passengers and crew on the Dan Air Comet flight from Manchester to Barcelona, who lost their lives when the plane ploughed into the mountainside above the small town of Arbucias, near Barcelona, on July 3rd 1970, and their grieving families, are not forgotten.

Last Sunday, a small group , headed by the Mayor of Arbucias, Sr. Pere Garriga, and representatives of the local police force, fire brigade and social services, met with two British residents in the area who recall vividly the tragic event, and Mr Geoffrey Cowling, who was H.M. Consul General in Barcelona in 2002 , at the graveside of the victims of this tragic event.

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Flowers were laid at the memorial to those who are buried here, a few minutes of respectful silence was observed and then the Mayor, in a simple and very moving speech recalled the events of 52 years before when his predecessor and the predecessors of the municipal employees gathered there, had had the task of reaching the crashed plane high on the inaccessible mountain side and recovering the remains of the 112 whose lives had been so cruelly cut short on their way to what should have been a very special

From left are Pere Garriga, Mayor of Arbucias, representatives of the Police, and Fire Brigade, Eleanor and John Copestake ( longstanding British residents in the area ) and Geoffrey Cowling (ex. H.M. Consul General in Barcelona)


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Sr. Garriga said that those who died and were buried there were remembered as honorary citizens of Arbucias.

It had been intended to remember the 50th anniversary of the tragedy formally and with the presence of some of family members of those who died but the Covid crisis had made this impossible.

He said that they still hoped that it might prove possible to do this next year, 2023, and suggested that this wish should be conveyed to surviving family members.

In reply, Mr Cowling expressed the appreciation of the British authorities and British residents in the area for the concern and affection expressed over the years by the people of Arbucias.

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A dignified ceremony was held in Padiham in July, 2020, to mark the 50th anniversary of the disaster.