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Flintshire men killed after plane went into deadly spin

Published date: 06 June 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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AN AIRCRAFT plunged out of the sky and nosedived into the ground before killing two Flintshire people on board, an inquest heard.

The plane, which crashed into farmland in Churton, near Chester, in August 2012, descended vertically out of the air and was rotating when it hit the ground, a coroner was told yesterday.

“Highly experienced” flight instructor John Green, from Caergwrle, and flying student Karl Hendrickson, from Mold, were killed as a result.

The light aircraft which was more than 30-years-old was fitted with a new engine six months before the crash, it was said.

During day one of a two-day inquest at Warrington Town Hall evidence was given by family members, eye-witnesses, the emergency services, Flintshire Flying School and officers from the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB).

It was said the crash could have been the result of an exercise which had failed.

John McMillan, of the AAIB, said: "I'm very confident this aircraft was in a spin when it hit the ground."

Andrew Blackie, also of the AAIB, said it was "very difficult" to determine the speed of the aircraft."

He added: "We don't know what manoeuvres the plane had done in the air but we do no it struck the ground during a spin."

The inquest heard that Mr Green was a highly trained pilot who had an estimated 10,440 flying hours of experience.

Mr Hendrickson was on his eighth lesson on the day of the crash.

His wife of 14 years Laura Hendrickson left the court room distraught as her statement was read out to the jury.

It recalled that the couple, who have a 15-year-old daughter, had returned back off holiday just one week before he died.

In other evidence it was heard that the light air craft was on its sixth flight of the day when it crashed.

The plane, which had clocked up 68 hours 55 minutes of flying time was reported to have had problems with the spark plugs - which was resolved 30 flight hours before the incident.

Eye-witness Nicholas Whitley, from Wrexham said he saw the plane "descending on a very steep angle".

He said he saw the plane for only a few seconds before it disappeared behind trees.

He said he drove round to the field where he saw the plane "stuck up in the field".

He said he went within a meter of the air craft and he could tell that the two people on board had died.

The inquest continues.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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