A SLEEPY dawn became a waking nightmare 50 years ago this week when an aeroplane plunged into a row of council houses in Southall.

Seven people were killed, including a mother of five and her three-week-old baby,when the twin-engined Viking airliner plunged out of the sky shortly after taking off from Heathrow Airport.

Two more children were among the dead and eight other people were injured in the tragedy, which happened just after 7.30am on September 2, 1958.

The pilot reported engine failure over Hayes and asked for permission to land at Blackbushe Airfield in Surrey, but never made it and instead crashed into Kelvin Gardens, where the fuselage exploded in a ball of flames and disintegrated.

Two of the dead included ten-year-old Ronald Reed and his 11-year-old sister, Carol, who stood little chance after their home was razed to the ground.

But their 20-year-old brother, Michael, miraculously survived after becoming sandwiched between two mattresses.

The devastation wreaked havoc in the cul-de-sac,and shellshocked survivors were taken for treatment at King Edward's Hospital in Mattock Lane,Ealing.

Teenager Brian Gibbons received the George Medal for his part in a rescue at a burning home,and the incinerated debris was removed over the following days with help from volunteers from the Salvation Army.