Depeche Mode's Alan Wilder narrowly escaped death when an RAF
Tornado plane crashed into a hillside near Lochearhead, Perthshire, in Scotland on
September 1, 1994 killing the two airmen on board. Wilder was showered with debris which
scattered across the A85 trunk road after the plane crashed some 200 yards away from his
open-topped car. The impact left a 20-yard crater near the road. Wilder has now issued a
statement giving his account of the tragedy, as follows:
"As I approached a sharp bend in the road, the sound of the Tornado appeared behind me, and as I looked up, the underside of the aircraft was no more than 50 Feet above me. To my astonishment, the plane had crashed beside the road into the glen about 200 yards ahead. Apparently it had been travelling at approximately 400 miles per hour. As I swerved off the road into a Farm track, I heard the sound of the impact and witnessed an enormous explosion from which the smoke and debris almost engulfed me. Another witness ran to call the police as I drove around the bend towards the site. At the same time, particles of carbon etc, began to rain down on to the open top car. Beyond the bend, parts of the dead airmens bodies were clearly visible in the road (i.e. parts of a seat belt with "guts" attatched, lumps of gore etc), a parachute, burning shrapnell and a strong, sweet smell of fuel. After the police arrived, I decided to leave the scene to avoid delay as many cars had arrived, and there was nothing further to do. It was only at this point I realised what an incredible escape I'd had. I would surely have been killed or, worst, severly maimed, had I been 10 seconds further into my journey. The most incredible thing is the one in a billion chance of that happening and me being there at that particular time given all the circumstances."
The MOD later named the dead airmen as 33-year-old navigator Patrick Harrison and Pilot Flight Lieutenant Peter Mosley, 31. They had been on a routine training Flight From RAF Norfolk when the accident happened.
‘Liquid’, and in particular it’s axis track ‘Black Box’, was inspired by something that happened back in 1994 when myself and my partner Hepzibah were driving in the middle of nowhere in Scotland and a Tornado bomber literally crashed in front of us. 2 airmen were killed as a result. I kept thinking about it, and the idea of the pilot and what was going through his mind during the last 30 seconds of his life stayed with me. It was also the notion of such an instantaneous event leaving you with a feeling of the banality of continuing life - the birds were singing as you could smell the fuel in the air and everything just carried on as normal.
In the end it became a kind of concept for the whole album - we are left inside the head of a man going down in a plane crash. His life flashes before him and as the LP unfolds, a series of memories come in the form of the stories that follow…