Prominent British passengers in the Times, note the model, but most likely it is Pamela Sheels

I remember reading an archive British newspaper report and in it there was a photograph of  Wendy Wheal (I believe) as one of the four fashion models killed in the crash. I very much thought the website was over and it had achieved what I believed need to be achieved. But something is missing. In a conversation with Bruno Druesne perhaps the catalyst to honour those who perished, the goal* which we both set out to be has not materialized  fully.

Here is an example: ” I was looking for Miss Wendy Wheal’s image in the  internet. Then I though I could find some images in Corbis -The biggest image archive….Unfortunately I could never reach her but this one…and the other images having listed under the same keyword “Turkish Airlines  Paris”. Who deserves to lay down on the ground as upper half out like this!!* Oh the God…you are so big…you are the source of all the things…and all the reasons…we will never understand. Wendy in Blue Dress was by shown on TV which was re-creation for National Geography.

Please try to find an image of the real Wendy for me…Do something for her…She merits a reward to take place in your TK981 blog with her model image. Doesn’t she?”

* A crash image of a bust of a women that appears to be doctored

Here is another: ” Thirty five years to the day I still remember with great love my girlfriend Kailan Wilcox, daughter of Wayne Wilcox (Cultural Attache to the American Embassy in London) who died on that fateful day. All my love forever. Mike”

As for Wendy Wheal, her private life seems to fascinate many people, I am dumbfounded by this. A book of her short career could capitalized on her as one of the three hundred and forty-five people killed that day, March 3rd, 1974 in a series of misfortune and man-made events that blinded Nejat Berkoz in his decisions to bring his ill-fated DC-10 to safety.

If you read the comments, you may agree that this tragedy foretells its burden to those still affected 36 years ago and the author, Paul Eddy who states, he has been consumed by it.

The London Times archive on March 4th, 1974, Wendy Wheal’s  photograph may be available within the article

200 passengers from British Airways are among the 345 killed in worst plane crash on record Britons in two air horrors:

Turkish DC-10 disaster: reporter from ‘The Times’ from Charles Hargrove Mortefontaine, near Senlis, March 3rd Three hundred and forty five people, including the crew of 11 were killed when a DC-10 aircraft of Turkish Airlines crashed at 12.35 pm today jn the forest of Ermenonvile, north- east of Paris, a few minutes after taking off from: Orly airport. There were no survivors. It is the biggest air disaster of all time. The aircraft was on a regular flight from Ankara to London, by way of Paris.

Among the victims were 200 passengers, many of them British, who had been transferred to the Turkish Airlines flight as a number of British Airways. flights from Paris to London had been canceled today because of the strike of engineers and other staff at London airport. I visited the scene of the crash, four hours later. Thousands of people were converging on the site by car, cycle, and on foot. They cluttered the roads and paths into the forest, hampering rescue work. But the police kept them at a safe distance from the actual site. None of the hundreds of strollers in the forest was killed by the crash, which occurred in a small sheltered valley, with a blanket of snow still on the ground, where no one had ventured.

Over a stretch of 1,000 yards where the trees had been sheered off probably, a British Airwavs official said as the pilot attempted a crash landing, Only blackened stumps remained. Wreckage and mutilated human remains were strewn over the whole- area, from which smoke curled up. in places. Bits of clothing and of flesh clung from some of the trees. The aircraft seemed to have been pulverized. At the end of the valley, where what was left of it must have finally come to a standstill, there were one or two barely identifiable portions of the fuselage. I tripped over a part of a turbine. That was all.

Rescue operations got under way in record time, with remarkable, efficiency. The emergency Orsec plan, providing for big catastrophes, was decreed. Several hundred rescue workers, volunteers of the Red Cross and of the Protection Civile, together with the, fire brigade and ambulance teams from Senlis and the neighboring towns and villages were on the site half an hour after the. crash. The rescue workers quickly realized that there was no rescue work to be done and set about the gruesome  task of collecting human remains. The bodies, battered and dismembered, were being- put into bags, or just covered with blankets, and piled up on stretch. Part of the fuselage of the Turkish airliner that crashed yesterday in the forest of Ermenonville, north-east of Paris, killing all 345 people on board.

* For Visitors willing to post documentations or to create links between families in the idea of establishing a living Association, please email to



Courtesy of Vetty Marcon

Un habitant d’Orry-la-Ville (à 4 km) a pris cette photo unique de l’explosion du DC-10

An habitant of d’Orry-la-Ville , Paris photographed this scene seconds after flight 981 plummeted into the forest 4 kilometres from the crash. It shows a plume of smoke which filled the atmosphere and was published in PARIS MATCH dated March 16th 1974.


The memorial at Ermenonville, Paris which is dedicated to the passengers and crew of THY 981

A vous tous qui ce jour-là étiez heureux,
Filant vers un pays lointain,
A vous tous, confiés entre les mains de Dieu,
Vivant votre dernier matin.

Pour vos âmes, plus question de patrie,
Quittant bien vite l’enfer et le feu,
Abandonnant les pauvres corps meurtris,
Elles ont acquis la paix, c’est notre vœu.
Je viens parfois devant votre pierre,
Et je me demande souvent pourquoi,
Pourquoi cela, maudite clairière,
Faite de Chair et de sang, oui, pourquoi ?

Hommage à vous tous, martyrs,
Hommage à tous ceux qui vous aiment,
Et pleurent à n’en plus finir,
Cette pierre est votre emblème !

A la mémoire des victimes du 3 mars 1974
Et qu’à l’éternité ce coin de terre soit sacré.

– Guy Marcon


In memory of the victims of March 3rd, 1974
And that for the eternity this corner of earth be sacred”

“To all of you who were happy that day,
Flying to a far country
To all of you, entrusted in the hands of god,
Were living their last morning,

To your souls, no more question of fatherland,
Quickly leaving hell and fire,
Leaving poor hurt bodies,
They acquired peace, this is our wish.
I do come sometimes in front of your stone,
And I do often ask why,
Why this, accursed glade,
Made from flesh and blood, yes, why?

Honour to you all, martyrs,
Honour to all those who love you,
And do cry with no end,
This stone is your emblem!

In memory of the victims of March 3rd, 1974
And that for the eternity this corner of earth be sacred

Translations courtesy of Bruno Druesne

This website is dedicated to the memory of the victims and their families who were affected by the crash of Turkish Airlines, flight 981 in 1974. It is a forum where information regarding the accident is available to the public and as a remembrance.

For all families or relatives who were too young at the time, it may offer the answers related to the crash, which articles and photographs have been archived to a tragic man-made event that occurred over 30 years ago.

To also remember and understand the conditions of the accident. Together, this site will provide a forum and an exchange in preparation for the creation of an Association of Families of the Victims of Flight THY-981


Ce site est dédié à la mémoire des victimes et de leurs familles qui ont été affectées par l’accident d’avion de Turkish Airlines du 3 mars 1974, le vol THY 981. Il s’agit d’un forum où les informations concernant l’accident sont à la disposition du public, c’est un lieu de souvenir.

Pour toutes les familles, et leurs proches, qui étaient parfois trop jeunes à l’époque, ce lieu met à disposition les réponses aux questions liées à cette catastrophe. Les articles et les photographies ainsi archivées relatent un tragique événement survenu il ya plus de 30 ans, et sont un témoignage de la défaillance et de la négligence humaine.

Pour savoir et se souvenir, ensemble, ce site pourra servir de lieu d’échange pour la préparation à la création d’une Association des Familles des Victimes du Vol THY-981

Richard Bolai / Bruno Druesne Copyright © 2010 All Rights Reserved


The Titanic – TC-JAV phenomenon

Recently, I was asked a question over the phenomenon regarding this accident. It was the fact that there had been so many published reports, documentaries and numerous websites on the subject. So why? Ermenonville and the airplane, TC-JAV, and my fascination and others over it? In its circumstances, in its as one reader put it, domino effect, probability, misfortune, malice and neglect that sent 346 people to their deaths in an airplane that trapped and careened their hopes into the earth of France. Their blood seeped into the soil of Ermenonville.

The intention over this website has become part of a bigger picture in telling a story about sacrifice, and of its repercussions unto a nation, the aviation industry and to the people who are still deeply affected over it thirty four years ago. The comments resonate this phenomena as so many people still remember that Sunday, the news, the images, etched in their memory from that day on. Also, the proliferation of the photographs which I had placed on this site, August 2007, is used on the other internet sites, youtube, facebook, etc, in memory or in discussion. So why this intrigue?, why this Titanic effect?

A scale model reinterpreting the tragedy courtesy of Korkut Varol

A moving tribute at an accident we all wished that never happened

A scale model of TC-JAV and the forest at Ermenonville. Paris

See the complete model diorama of the tragic crash

As a child, after hearing the reports over the radio, I thought first to myself, I hoped no one was hurt as this airplane landed on leaves of trees. The more I try to end this, it draws me back, the website is a place of remembrance, its time for the collective forces to complete it, to whatever it needs, and to release me as I have done my deed.

Richard Bolai © 2010 All Rights Reserved

A comment:

Merci à vous pour toutes ces informations. Cette catastrophe a été particulièrement horrible et tous ces pauvres passagers ont vus arriver la mort. Nous ne devons pas les oublier car cela les fait vivre encore dans nos coeurs. L’oubli c’est la mort ! Je suis allé visiter le site en fin de semaine dernière et je peux vous dire que l’ambiance y est très pesante. Ce lieux est marqué à jamais. Le monument  où est gravé le nom de chaque passager perpétue leur souvenir. Le cratère nous rappelle ce que fut cette tragédie et les nombreux débris restants du DC 10 m’ont choqués car ils sont la preuve bien tangible de la catastrophe. C’est un lieu très prenant. N’y allez pas si vous êtes dépressif ! En ce 3 mars, je pense à toutes ce vies si violement brisée il y a exactement 36 ans. Pensons à ces familles qui, en ce jour, pensent à leurs proches disparus… je m’associe à eux.

Thank you for all this information. This disaster was particularly horrible for all those poor passengers ( and crew) that saw death arriving. We must not forget them because it makes them still live in our hearts. Forgetfulness is death! I visited the site last weekend and I can tell you that the atmosphere is very heavy. This place is marked forever. The monument which is engraved the name of each passenger perpetuates their memory. The crater reminds us what was this tragedy and the many ruins remaining of the DC-10 shocked me because they are tangible evidence of the disaster. It is a very addictive. Do not go if you are depressed! In this March 3rd, I think all this violently shattered lives if there are exactly 36 years. Think of these families, this day, believe their missing relatives … I agree with them.

There is another:

Thank you so much for all the work in this website. On this 36th anniversary, like all the others, I often think of my dad who was a passenger on the flight. Desmond Hunt, 47 from Belfast had taken a short break in Istanbul and sadly never came home. I was 18 and my sister 16. Needless to say the event had a devastating effect on our lives. He was a larger than life figure and greatly missed by us and obviously has missed out on so much – our weddings, the birth of his grandchildren and their lives.

My mum went to Paris a few weeks after the accident, just before the mass burial was to take place and fortunately was able to identify a wedding ring which meant we were able to bring him home for a final goodbye.  I visited the memorial a couple of times in the late 70’s with my mum but would love to go back some time with my own family.

Thank you again for all the time you have taken to give so many of us so much to hold on to. – Shirley Turkington

Articles from newspaper archives:

A collection of articles and photographs pertaining to the Paris crash

The following newspaper clippings are from the archives of France Soir published during the days after of the accident. These papers may be purchased.







Richard Bolai © 2010 All Rights Reserved

In memory


Nejat Berkoz

Dedicated in memory of the victims and their families affected by the crash of Turkish Airlines, Flight 981 in Paris, France, 1974.

Here is a forum where information regarding the accident is available to the public and as a remembrance where many can heal from the effects of the tragedy.

Richard Bolai © 2007/2010

Pour les visiteurs souhaitant soumettre des documentations, des commentaires ou créer un contact avec les familles de victimes, merci de cliquer ici

For Visitors willing to post documentations or to create links between families in the idea of establishing a living Association

Email: In French or English