In the years since the crash several witnesses have come forward with evidence to support the missile theory, including a crew member of the British ship HMS Penelope. He claims that part of the wreckage that was recovered by Penelope was secretly removed to the UK.
However, in 2002 a review process conducted by the AAIU (Air Accident Investigation Unit) disclosed that Aer Lingus paperwork relating to a routine maintenance inspection carried out on the aircraft in December 1967 was found to be missing in 1968. Moreover, a large body of research was done by the investigators after the accident regarding the maintenance operating plan used for EI-AOM and defects on the aircraft found during analysis of the maintenance records. This research was not referred to in the 1970 report. A new board of investigation was set up by the Irish government and found that the crash was the consequence of a chain of events starting with a failure to the left tail-plane caused by metal fatigue, corrosion, flutter or a bird strike, with the most likely cause being a flutter-induced fatigue failure of the elevator trim tab operating mechanism.
In March 2007 Retired RAF Squadron Leader Eric Evers who was previously chief flying instructor with the British military in RAF Little Rissington, made a claim that the accident was in fact caused by a mid-air collision between the Aer Lingus Vickers Viscount and a French-built military aircraft which was training with the Irish Air Corps . Squadron Leader Evers maintains that he has evidence to prove that a Fouga Magister trainer accidentally collided with the Aer Lingus aircraft as it was responding to a request to check the status of the Viscount's undercarriage, which had failed to lock in position correctly. All 61 people, including the four crew, on board the Aer Lingus Viscount Cork-London Heathrow flight were lost in the subsequent crash off Tuskar Rock, but according to Sqn Leader Evers information, the two pilots in the trainer survived by ejecting and parachuting to safety. Sqn Leader Evers maintains that both the French and Irish authorities colluded in a subsequent cover-up, and the Fouga Magister wreckage may still be on the seabed off the Co Wexford coast.
Eric Evers' claims have been disputed by Capt Mike Reynolds, retired sea captain and aviator and author of Tragedy at Tuskar Rock, published in 2003. Capt Reynolds upholds the findings of the 2002 official report by French and Australian experts which ruled out the possibility that the Viscount was hit by another aircraft or missile. The international study, on which he worked as Irish assistant, concluded that the cause may have been as a result of structural failure of the aircraft, corrosion, metal fatigue, "flutter" or bird strike.
An Irish Defence Forces spokesman described the claims of Squadron Leader Evers as "spurious" and said there was no evidence that an Irish Air Corps plane was in the vicinity at the time. That Fouga Magister did not "come into service" with the Irish Air Corps until 1976. However he could not comment on why a Fouga Magister was listed as one of the Air Corps aircraft in service in 1968, as stated in appendix 5.2.g of the 2002 report.
Read more about this topic: Aer Lingus Flight 712
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