Monday, March 02, 2015

More than a dozen plane crashes in North Wales since 2010

Civil Aviation Authority says despite the figures, revealed by a Freedom of Information request, air travel remains one of the safest forms of transport

More than a dozen planes have crash-landed in North Wales over the past five years.

According to figures revealed following a Freedom of Information request to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), eight people have been killed in accidents since 2010, and even more injured.

The majority of incidents have occurred around Caernarfon, two of which resulted in fatalities.

There were three recorded crashes at Hawarden airport, one which was fatal, with persons involved in the other two escaping uninjured.

The biggest loss of life happened in October 2010 after a flight from Londonderry to Caernarfon crashed on a hill near the Northern Ireland coastline.

According to CAA logs, hill walkers heard the aircraft, then a bang. All three people on board were killed.

In January 2012, two pilots died after their plane struck cloud-covered trees on Long Mountain near Welshpool.

The CAA say the commander was carrying out a flight to “re-familiarize” himself with the aircraft and had been flying around the local area before preparing to land. The plane crashed into trees on the upper slope of the mountain before impacting the grass and catching fire.

A flight instructor from Flintshire Flying School, based at Hawarden airport, and his student were killed “instantaneously” after the aircraft they were in crashed in Bruera, Cheshire, in August 2012.

Experienced pilot John Green, 50, and dad-of-one Karl Hendrickson, 43, from Caergwrle, were on a lesson in the Piper PA-38 Tomahawk when it crash-landed in a field less than an hour after take off.

Following a two-day inquest held in Warrington last year, assistant coroner for Cheshire Alan Moore said what happened in the final minutes of the flying lesson may never be known.

In May 2013, one person died and two others were left “seriously injured” after a fixed wing plane struck a tree on approach to Caernarfon airport.

The CAA said the pilot reported a loss of power and was unable to reach the airfield.

Six months later, in November 2013, a “besotted” couple were killed after the light twin engine Cessna aircraft they were in nosedived to the ground as it attempted to land at Hawarden Airport.

Gary Vickers, 58, and his partner Kaye Clarke, 42, had been on their way back from Paris when tragedy struck.

An air accident investigation into the crash last year revealed the plane had run out of fuel, and an inquest held in Ruthin last month was told the plane had 30 litres of fuel in the reserve tank and just two litres in the main tank.

The most recent fatal incident was in May 2014 when a student pilot lost control of the microlight on takeoff and crashed onto the taxi way.

According to the CAA, Ashley Hazelwood, 61, of Kinmel Bay, was flying circuits at Caernarfon airfield when the incident happened.

Mr Hazelwood was the only person on board and the aircraft was destroyed by the impact.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said: “Aviation remains to be one of the safest forms of transport.

“Every serious incident and accident is independently investigated by the government’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and any lessons learnt are put in place.”

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