Aer Lingus Flight 712
Wednesday 14th, July 2021
On the 24th of March 1968 Flight 712 enroute from Cork to London, an Aer Lingus aircraft, a Vickers Viscount 803 called 'St. Phelim' crashed into the Irish sea off Tuskar Rock, County Wexford, Ireland. All 61 passengers and crew perished in the crash, even though a long two year investigation was undertaken the cause of the crash was never determined. There are many theories as to the cause of the downing of Flight 712, some of these theories are a bird strike, mechanical and/or structural failure or a missile strike.

Aer Lingus Flight 712 left Cork airport in Ireland at 10:32 hours for London, until there was a message received that is said to have been "twelve thousand feet descending spinning rapidly", this would be the last communication received from flight 172, up to this point of this communication it has been accepted that the flight was proceeding normally.

A full alert was given at 11:25 and by 12:36 hours wreckage was reported to have been sighted, upon further inspection by searching aircraft no wreckage was located and the report was cancelled and the search was paused that day. The following day the search resumed by aircraft and ships with wreckage reported ~11km north-east of Tuskar Rock and bodies are reported to have been recovered. The wreckage was scattered for a further 11km north-west. In total 14 bodies were recovered following the search efforts and the main wreckage of flight 172 was found ~3.2km from Tuskar Rock on the sea bed.

Following a long investigation, a few years following the incident it was suggested a possible cause of the crash was a missile strike after a number of 'witnesses' came forward to support this theory, this was further backed up at the time by a crew member of the British ship HMS Penelope who alleged that some of the wreckage was recovered back to the UK.

But after a review in 2002 by the AAIU (Air Accident Investigation Unit) of the initial investigation it was determined that the most likely cause of the downing of flight 172 was due to metal fatigue, corrosion, flutter or a bird strike. In the report it was said that the chain of events that lead to flight 172 crashing was caused by a failure of the left tail-plane, this most likely led to a flutter-induced fatigue failure of the elevator trim tab operating mechanism.

Aer Lingus still uses the flight number for a daily flight from Dublin, Ireland to London Heathrow. The use of the flight number is in contrary to the airlines convention of using a flight number after a crash.
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