Brecon Beacons most tragic accidents – from plane crashes and cave rescues to the SAS

Beautiful, wild, lethal – people are drawn to the Brecon Beacons to to be truly immersed in in the wilderness, but its untamed and rugged landscape can be lethal

A team thought to be made up of over 50 people are currently involved in a rescue effort to save a man who fell whilst caving in the Brecon Beacons.

The man, who is thought to have fallen in the Ogof Ffynnon Ddu cave network near Penwyllt, has been trapped for two days having hurt his back.

He has received medical treatment in the cave, and have been in contact with both the internationally renowned rescuers and other cavers.

But this scary saga is far from the first crisis to take place in the Brecon Beacons, with a list of terrifying accidents having befallen the sprawling mountainous national park.

Where are the Brecon Beacons?

Stretching from west to east Wales, the range is home to iconic mountains Pen y Fan, the Black Mountains, Dan yr Ogof all in a rugged and wild that in places seems devoid of human life.

The range sits along the border of mid and south Wales, while the bigger still 823 square mile Snowdonia sits in the country’s north west.

The 2013 SAS tragedy
It comes as little surprise then that this expansive, remote landscape is the training ground of choice for the SAS; Pen y Fan is notorious for its gruelling ‘Fan Dance’ hike, a 15 mile long walk used in the selection process for much of Britain’s special forces.

But the special forces’ love affair with the Beacons is riddled with tragedy.

In 2013 three soldiers – Corporal James Dunsby, 31, Lance Corporal Craig Roberts, 24, and Lance Corporal Edward Maher, 31 – undertaking the selection process to become SAS reservists died on a 16 mile exercise in the mountain range, leading to lengthy investigations into whether there had been negligence on behalf of the SAS in protecting the men.

Earlier this year the Mirror reported that as many 20 service people had died in the Beacons since 1984, almost one every other year.

But it’s not just rigorous SAS training that have claimed lives people in 520 square mile park; it has a terrible record for plane crashes.

Canadians in the Second World War
In 1944, in the latter stages of the Second World War a bomber carrying six Canadian service men crashed at Carreg Goch – much of the debris from the crash can still be found around the area as can two plaques honouring the dead can be found in the area.

Two years prior to that a Spitfire came down, killing fellow Canadian 20-year-old Sergeant Donald Perry Carruthers – it took nine days to recover his burned body.

Six further Canadians died in two further crashes during the war.

The post-war Jet crashes
In the Black Mountains area of the Beacons in 1953, a de Havilland Vampire jet fighter crashed killing pilot John Raymond Baldock, and then 13 years later in 1966 a Vulcan bomber crew crashed at Fan Bwlch Chwyth all five crew on board, according to Ystradgynlais History.

A friend of a family living near the Vulcan crash site said at the time: “As one can imagine the plane had broken up on impact over a wide area and amongst the debris were the remains of the crew.”

One eyewitness “saw many body parts scattered around and described the scene as horrific”.