Monday, July 23, 2012

Cessna F172M, United Kingdom registration G-ROUP: Accident occurred July 21, 2012 in Portreath, United Kingdom

NTSB Identification: CEN12WA478 
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Saturday, July 21, 2012 in Portreath, United Kingdom
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: G-ROUP
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors.

On July 21, 2012, at 1421 UTC, a Cessna F172M, United Kingdom registration G-ROUP, was substantially damaged when it impacted a cliff near Portreath, Cornwall, England. A post impact fire ensued. The pilot, the sole person on board was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight which departed Perranporth Airfield.

This investigation is under the jurisdiction and control of the British government. Any further information may be obtained from:

Air Accidents Investigations Branch
Farnborough House
Berkshire Copse Road
Aldershot, Hampshire
GU11 2HH, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 1252 510300
Facsimile: +44 (0) 1252 376999

This report is for informational purposes only and contains only information released by, or obtained from, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch of England.

Andrew Stillwell-Cox's light aircraft crashed into cliffs in Cornwall on Saturday 

Police officers investigate the burnt out wreckage of the light aircraft which crashed into the cliffs at Nancekuke, near Portreath, in Cornwall. Witnesses reported seeing the plane on fire before it crashed 

The plane can be seen at the top of the cliffs at Nancekuke. Police have not yet named the man but have said they believe he is from nearby St Austell

A pilot who died when his light aircraft plunged into cliffs may have deliberately taken his own life. 

Former Royal Navy officer Andrew Stillwell-Cox died when his plane crashed close to RAF Portreath just minutes after taking off at nearby Perranporth airfield, in Cornwall, on Saturday.

Emergency services found the burning wreckage dangling precariously close to the cliff edge at Sheep Rock, surrounded by pockets of fire.

Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed that suicide is one of the lines of inquiry being pursued by detectives.

A force spokesman said: “Police scene investigators are working together with the fire service. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) are also doing their own investigation.”

The plane took off from Perranporth airfield at 4.05pm on Saturday and crashed shortly afterwards.

A major rescue operation was launched involving a search and rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose, Devon and Cornwall Police, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and Falmouth Coastguards. Nobody else was thought to have been in the aircraft and there were no casualties on the ground.

The family of Mr Stillwell-Cox paid tribute to the “highly respected” former Royal Navy officer. Mr Stillwell-Cox was aged 55 and from the St Austell area of Cornwall, police confirmed.

“Andrew was a retired commander from the Royal Navy,” they said in a statement released by police. “His last posting was at RNAS Culdrose where he was 1st lieutenant, retiring in 2007. He was highly respected and lived his life for the Navy. On retirement he qualified as a private pilot flying out of RAF Spitfire Station at Perranporth where he was very highly thought of.

“Andrew was generous and greatly supportive of his friends and they will miss him enormously. He was the stalwart of the Spitfire Society having organised this year’s major events at Polesden House near Dorking, Surrey, in celebration of the Spitfire and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.”

Story and photo:

Pilot killed after aircraft crashes into cliff and bursts into flames shortly after takeoff

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