The Trail Went Cold – Episode 103 – The Great Mull Air Mystery

Christmas Eve 1975. The Isle of Mull, Scotland. 54-year old Peter Gibbs, a former Royal Air Force pilot and World War II veteran, has dinner with his girlfriend at the Glenforsa Hotel, but decides to go for an evening flight. After taking off from an adjacent airfield in a Cessna, Gibbs never returns. Four months later, Gibbs’ body is discovered on a hill one mile away from the hotel and his cause of death is determined to be exposure, but the missing aircraft is never found. An enquiry concludes that Gibbs likely crashed the Cessna into the water, swam to shore, and subsequently died on the hill, but there are a number of discrepancies to suggest this scenario would have been impossible. How did Gibbs’ body remain undiscovered on the hill for four months? If he crashed his aircraft, how did he avoid sustaining any serious injuries? What prompted Gibbs to take such a dangerous nighttime flight to begin with? For our final holiday-themed episode of “The Trail Went Cold”, we explore a baffling unexplained death known as “The Great Mull Air Mystery”. Special thanks to listener Alexandra Wasylycia for providing the opening narration for this episode.

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The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.

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One thought on “The Trail Went Cold – Episode 103 – The Great Mull Air Mystery

  • I think between Robin’s deductions and the Mystery Ink article (that site reminds me a lot of Skeptoid, of which I am an avid follower), the most plausible scenario is covered. He flew around for a while trying to find the airstrip, eventually realized he had to bail, and hopped out as low and slow as he could possibly go. The winter in Mull that year was very mild, as stated, so the ground would be wet and soft rather than frozen and hard, so he stood a chance to survive the fall and did. He was probably disoriented from the fall, if not full on concussed, and started walking in a daze. At some point, exhaustion and hypothermia set in, and he either laid down on or collapsed onto that log, sadly and ironically close to the hotel as it was, and died. I think the searchers either just managed to miss him during the initial searches, or didn’t cover that ground and don’t want to admit that they didn’t. It was rough terrain getting to it, as they said. Even them missing him isn’t that implausible…look at the case of Brian Barton (Disappeared episode “The Final Chord”), whose remains were found behind a church less than a mile from his home, an area they looked for him multiple times.

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