One of the most remarkable air crash escapes of all time saw all 20 people aboard a Vickers Viking plane survive after it plunged into moorland at 150mph and burst into flames.

It happened on April 21, 1948, between Largs and Kilbirnie and efforts are under way to mark next year's 60th anniversary. Among the passengers on the flight were: Mr and Mrs James Young, of Queensborough Gardens, Hyndland. Mr Young worked for the Glasgow shipbreaking firm of W H Arnott Young & Co. The company secretary, Henry Watt, of Drumchapel, walked from the crash site with captain John Ramsden to raise the alarm. May Most and daughter Hilda, of Kilmarnock Road, Glasgow, were among the female passengers. Mrs Most suffered a broken ankle and was the only person taken to hospital.

Authors James Towill and Dougie Martindale are keen to speak to survivors or their relatives, or anyone with memories of the dramatic crash.

The survivors - 16 passengers and four crew - trekked for miles in atrocious weather to reach safety.

Rescue parties were dispatched from Largs after two of the survivors, one with blood oozing from a head wound, stumbled into the town's police station and raised the alarm.

Mr Martindale, 32, from Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, said: "Many walkers have stumbled on the wreckage of the Viking, but few are aware of the great drama and how lucky the occupants were to survive."

The flight from Northolt Airport, Middlesex, to what was then Renfrew Airport was preparing to land when it crashed 1500ft up on the northern slope of Irish Law.

As the plane burst into flames, everyone on board managed to leap out through a gap torn at the rear of the fuselage.

Despite visibility at times being down to 2ft, the 28-year-old pilot, captain John Ramsden, and passenger Henry Watt, set out across the hills and reached Largs three hours later.

Three male passengers, led by the plane's radio officer, also trekked for three hours before reaching Ladyland House, Lochwinnoch, home of Sir Neil Cochrane-Patrick.

The remainder of the party - including a woman who had to be carried because of a broken ankle - reached Flatt Farm, Largs.

A fleet of ambulances and taxis took them to a local hotel.

The survivors later told how the plane had bounced "in a series of giant hops" before hitting the hillside.

The two authors say they are keen to speak to anyone who remembers the accident, including any former BEA pilots who piloted a Vickers Viking aircraft.

Mr Towill, from Dunfermline, Fife, said: "The crash is a truly exciting story and I hope it will become more widely known". Anyone who can help the authors should call the Evening Times on 0141 302 6520 or send an e-mail to: