Poptyping disaster

From TEPwiki, Urth's Encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Poptyping on a previous voyage in the Antiforrean mountains, within 50km of crash site.

The Poptyping airship disaster of April 4th, 1934 in the Antiforre mountains of Tawuse was a once-mysterious disaster that led to the death of 47 passengers and 35 crew. The airship, operated by Llinell Orro, was part of the trans-arcturian network that spanned the southern nations of the continent.

On a regular trans-arcturian route between cities on the eastern coast of Arcturia, disaster hit between Altomaré and the luxury liner's first stop, Vallentagne. Modern historians believe that the incident followed pilot error. Pilot Vincant Silvas, a newly trained pilot, mistakenly reduced altitude in poor visibility caused by autumnal conditions  and crashed into the western slopes of the Antiforre mountains, killing all on board as hydrogen ignited in the gas bag of the airship. Scraps of the wreckage can still be found in the heavily forested area.

A travel poster produced by the Tawusian Aviation Board in 1932 displaying destinations for the line in Arcturia

Leading up to the crash

The Poptyping departed the Altomaré Maesawyr at 16:30 on April 04, reporting poor visibility on approach to the province of Antiforre. Common for this time of year, the conditions required a trained eye to monitor and to safely traverse valleys at a lower altitude due to turbulence at higher altitudes. Pilot Iwan Silvas had passed his apprenticeship months prior, but due to pilots being in high demand for the newly expanded fleet, the Tawusian Aviation Board fast tracked his apprenticeship from 4 years to 2. The voyage to Ibrahim, Vivancantadia, was his first solo flight in poor flying conditions. Furthermore, the maintenance log of the Poptyping show that technicians on board had reported issues with their barometer (unknown to the pilot). However, Llinell Orro dismissed the fault on the ground, citing the need to stay on schedule; the barometer was due to be looked at in Efraford during a prolonged mooring period.

At 19:42, the Poptyping reported via radio that they were decreasing altitude due to the barometer showing unsafe altitude given the wind conditions. Poor visibility gave the illusion of cloud cover, prompting Silvas to decrease altitude rapidly, unable to regain control of the ship as it descended into the slopes of the mountains below. Shortly after, radio contact with the Poptyping was lost. It is speculated that following this course correction the Poptyping crashed into the treeline below and a spark ignited the hydrogen gas bags causing a quick and powerful blaze that propelled the gondola to the ground, scattering passengers and debris throughout the thick forest.

By morning, a smoke plume alerted rescue workers to the crash site, arriving almost 12 hours after the crash. All passengers and crew were reported dead or missing. Due to the slope and heavily forested area where the Poptyping crashed, most wreckage was left where it fell and any located bodies were relocated.

The Poptyping was known for carrying well-paying passengers on a luxury voyage. Fine dining was a must for these VIPs.

Response to the crash

Tawusian Response

Having installed new and costly air infrastructure throughout the country, the Kingdom of Tawuse placed blame on 12 axdelians (all cava), citing evidence that several were members of the Kormistazic restorationists and were aiming to crash into Gratultan population centres along the route. Although the tragedy came during a time of heightened tensions between Centro and Gratulto, these claims continue to be unverified due to lacklustre evidence supporting them. However, this event was the first of its kind in Tawusian territory, and only led to a short decline in passengers. The airship route remained the fastest way to circumvent the mountains between Altomaré and vallentagne, so convenience maintained popularity for airships for years following the crash.

Gränser investigation and its outcome

The hypothesis that first outlined pilot and administrative error as the cause of the crash was first pitched by gränser investigators, who insisted the production of the Poptyping followed strict construction criteria ensuring safety of passengers and crew. Following papers published by the gränser in 1937 that cross-referenced flight path with meteorological data, the broad international community accepted that Silvas was to blame for the incident. Llinell Orro apologised for the actions of Silvas, placing full responsibility on the dead pilot. The company also reimbursed passenger families for funeral costs and avoided further controversy from the incident.

The victims

The 82 victims of the disaster hailed from various nations from around Urth, however, 44 of them were Tawusian.

Nation Number of dead
7 (5 Flag of Lokania.jpgLokanian)

Ex-Prime Minister Kresjarl

Alton Kresjarl, first Caltharusian politician, and his wife were on board the Poptyping at the time of the disaster. They were travelling from Altomaré to Efraford on a trip purchased as a gift from friends, who had taken the voyage prior. Alton's body was never found. His wife was found within the wreckage, she had survived the initial fall but died from injuries.

The Salovian controversy

Orik Posol, brother to Salovian Chancdllor Rorik Posol