1972 Atlas Mountains Air Crash: My Discovery


Last week I climbed Mount Toubkal, the highest mountain in Northern Africa and part of the Atlas range. On my decent from the summit, we took a route not taken by many tourists and detoured to the site of an air crash.

I was astonished upon climbing up to another summit close by, only slightly below the 4167meters of the top of Mount Toubkal, to find the engine of an aircraft perched peaceful atop the mountain.

aircraft engine on top of mountain

 

My guide informed me that an aircraft had crash landed here in 1972. It looked like it had hit the top of the mountain and then the pieces scattered along the ridge and down the side of the mountain. Despite being over 40 years ago it looked like it had happened yesterday. The pieces were sporadically scattered across the mountain, most were unidentifiable and looked simply like mangled pieces of metal. The guide told me that it was a big aircraft, however it looked quite small to me. There was wreckage everywhere and I was astonished that nobody had ever cleaned it up. Aside from the engine, the biggest part I found was a propeller.

Atlas mountain air crash

 

Finding an untouched wreckage such as this would be an incredible discovery for most people, but as ex-cabin crew this really touched my heart. I’ve had scary moments whilst flying and I have undertaken in-depth training for such an eventuality, but never have I seen a wreckage first hand like this.

My guide informed me that they found the bodies of four people after the crash and that they buried them further down the mountain. On my decent I was shown the ‘cemetery’- a simple pile of rocks, beneath which I could see the bones of the deceased. I asked my guide if the families and friends has come to the burial, to which he told me that they had not. This made me think that it was quite possible that the friends and family may not be aware of what happened here? In an extremely remote part of the Atlas mountains the aircraft destruction had sat untouched for almost half a century, therefore it was quite possible that nobody had known who the deceased were in order to notify their loved ones. That is why I chose to write this post, not only to share with you the incredible sights that I witnessed up at over 4000 meters, but in the hope that this post might be shared and that if there are people who’s loved ones took a flight one day in 1972 and never returned that they may finally know where they have been laid to rest.

Please share this post to see if we can help these people have closure on what I can only imagine has been an extremely upsetting and arduous few years of searching and not knowing what happened to their loved ones. May the pilots and passengers rest in peace.

plane wreckage Atlas mountains