Airmen lost in Belfast Lough

Two men were missing feared drowned following a plane crash at Belfast Lough on June 30 1960.

The “Sea Venom” jet had taken off from the Royal Naval Aircraft Yard at Sydenham before it nosedived and plunged into the sea approximately a mile-and-a-half from Whitehead.

An RAF “Hastings”, helicopter, seven ships and Donaghadee lifeboat took part in a search of Belfast Lough.

The pilot’s helmet was found two-and-half hours after the crash.

A spokesman for the RAF Aircraft Yard, explained that planes were frequently taken on test flights over the lough.

William McKee who had been working on the railway line at Kilroot Point said: “The plane was approaching very fast when its engine cut out and it dropped into the sea sending up a spray of water 15 ft high.

Despite an intensive seven-hour effort by ships and aircraft, no trace of the crew was found and the search had to be called off.

The pilot was Lieutenant J S Barlow-Smith, RN, an Englishman, who had been living at Sydenham. Lieutenant James H Lynch, RN, of Omagh, was observer in the aircraft. Both men were married.