Mon, Mar 31, 2008
Five Lost When Jet Goes Down On Takeoff From Kent Airport
Reports from the scene of Sunday's downing of a Cessna Citation
501 business jet in Farnborough, England indicate two former
automobile racers were among the five victims onboard the stricken
aircraft... but possible reasons why the business jet experienced
problems immediately after takeoff are hard to come by at this
According to numerous news reports, the Citation I departed
Biggin Hill Airport in Kent bound for Pau, France Sunday afternoon.
The jet (file photo of type, shown below) was less than five miles
from its departure airport when the pilot issued a mayday call, and
apparently attempted to steer the plane back to Biggin Hill.
"The plane was coming down with its
landing gear down as if to make an emergency landing on the field,"
witness Gary Walcraft, 16, told CNN. "I could see someone in the
plane waving frantically out of the window at us to get out of the
way... But at the last second the pilot pulled up somehow and
gained some height. He was trying to avoid hitting us but then he
clipped some trees and smashed into the house."
The Citation impacted a vacant home in a residential area two
miles from the field. The owners of the house were away on vacation
when the accident occurred, and no one on the ground was
Among the five victims onboard the jet were former British
Touring Car Championship driver David Leslie, 54, and Apex
Motorsport head Richard Lloyd, 63. The London Times identified the
pilots as Michael Roberts, 63, and Michael Chapman, 57. The fifth
victim was Christopher Allarton, 25.
An investigation has been launched into the downing of the
aircraft, with the National Transportation Safety Board also
offering its assistance.
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