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      April 24th in History

      April 24th in History
      Vladimir Komarov was on his second space flight

      1967: Russian cosmonaut dies in space crash

      England have

      The Soviet Union has announced the catastrophic failure of its latest space mission, with the crash of Soyuz 1 and the death of the cosmonaut on board.

      Colonel Vladimir Komarov, 40, is the first known victim of a space flight. He was an experienced cosmonaut, on his second flight, and had completed all his experiments successfully before returning to earth.

      But within seconds of landing, just after he re-entered the earth's atmosphere, the strings of the parachute intended to slow his descent apparently became tangled.

      The spaceship hurtled to the ground from four miles up. It is likely that Colonel Komarov was killed instantly on impact.

      Gold Star for heroism

      A message of condolence from the Communist Party in Moscow described him as "a loyal son of our motherland and a courageous explorer of space."

      He has been decorated posthumously with a second Gold Star for heroism, and his ashes will be buried at the Kremlin wall - one of the highest honours accorded to a Soviet citizen.

      News of the death of Colonel Komarov was greeted with regret and concern in the United States. The head of the US space programme, James Webb, called for greater cooperation in space exploration.

      The team of 47 American astronauts working at Houston in Texas sent a telegram of condolence to their Russian rivals.

      Mystery crash

      The announcement from Moscow gave few details surrounding events leading up to the disaster, and there remain a number of mysteries surrounding the last moments of the doomed flight.

      The Soyuz 1 is known to be a new and heavier type of spacecraft, built as part of the Soviet attempt to land a man on the moon, and Colonel Komarov was thought to be testing it when the disaster happened.

      Correspondents in Moscow had indications that all was not well with the flight from as early as yesterday, when earlier reports on Moscow Radio suddenly stopped and there was no mention of the space flight for nearly 13 hours.

      Experts have questioned why Colonel Komarov did not use an ejection system to get out of the spacecraft. The cosmonaut was also known to have suffered from heart problems.

      April 24th in History
      The explosion shattered hundreds of windows

      1961: Nazi war crimes trial begins

      Artificially 1969:
      A massive bomb has ripped through the heart of the City of London, killing one and injuring more than 40.

      The explosion shook buildings and shattered hundreds of windows, sending glass showering down into the streets below. A mediaeval church, St Ethelburga's, collapsed; another church and Liverpool Street underground station were also wrecked.

      The cost of repairing the damage has been estimated at more than ?bn.

      We didn't expect them to do it again in the same area.

      Security guard Raymond Fayers

      Police had received coded warnings, but were still evacuating the area when the bomb went off. Most of those injured were security guards, builders and maintenance staff, and those who had come into their offices to work at the weekend.

      Police said the bomb was hidden in the back of a dark blue tipper truck, parked in Bishopsgate.

      It was home-made, with about a ton of fertiliser - similar to the bomb which devastated the Baltic Exchange a year ago, killing three people.

      Repairs to the Exchange had just been completed, and the building re-opened, when the same banks were damaged again by today's blast.

      One of those injured, security guard Raymond Fayers, said, "We were all surprised that they picked the same hotspot again. Every night, virtually, we get some sort of scare, but we didn't expect them to do it again in the same area."

      The dead man was found under rubble during a five-hour search of debris near where the bomb went off. He has not yet been identified.

      Back in business

      Police say they are in no doubt that the bomb was planted by the IRA, although the organisation has not said it carried out the attack.

      The explosion comes just over a month after the Warrington bomb, which killed two children. The IRA expressed its regret after the outcry that followed.

      Commander David Tucker, of the Anti-Terrorist Squad, said, "We had hoped after the deaths in Warrington that there would be some sort of turning point, but that seems to be not the case."

      The area around the site of today's blast remains sealed off, but the Lord Mayor of London has promised that the City will be back in business on Monday.







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