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Three weeks, two crashes, 10 dead

PUBLISHED: 17:17 09 April 2008 | UPDATED: 11:11 12 August 2010



Date: 04.04.08

Scene of air crash and cards

Ref:  Pictures by  Andy Barnes

Date: 04.04.08 Scene of air crash and cards Ref: Pictures by Andy Barnes

Kentish Times

THE aircraft that crashed killing five people in Farnborough came from the same batch as a plane involved a similar accident in America less than ONE MONTH before. A Cessna Citation 500 I plane plummeted to the ground shortly after take-off fr

EXCLUSIVE

THE aircraft that crashed killing five people in Farnborough came from the same batch as a plane involved a similar accident in America less than ONE MONTH before.

A Cessna Citation 500 I plane plummeted to the ground shortly after take-off from Wiley Post Airport, Oklahoma City, on March 4.

Just weeks later, on March 30, a similar model manufactured in 1975 by the same American company - with only one aircraft built between them on the production line - crashed into a house in Romsey Close, Orpington.

In both incidents, two pilots and three passengers were killed but Cessna bosses say there are no plans to recall aircrafts from that production line.

The Oklahoma flight was number 285 and the Farnborough flight was 287. There are no plans to recall number 286 and the whereabouts of that aircraft is unknown.

Father-of-two, Jason Murrell, 39, who looked on in horror as the Farnborough Cessna 287 'fell out of the sky' after getting into difficulty shortly after leaving Biggin Hill Airport, said he was shocked that the company has not recalled the planes.

He said: "Surely that is standard procedure, especially since there was no black box? I'm glad I don't have to get on one. Lightening has struck twice just a month apart.

"There could be a problem with the planes from that production line. I thought they would ground the flights that day but they didn't. Surely they should do that while the investigation is carried out? None of it makes sense.

"Everyone is still very nervous around here. Whenever a plane goes over everybody looks. They need to find out what happened, there has to be a reason.

"I can't forget what happened that day. I never will and will have to live with it for the rest of my life. I was shocked by just how many accidents there have been around Biggin Hill."

Witness to the Oklahoma crash said they saw the jet "spiralling" and "flipping" out of control before crashing into some woodland.

A spokesman from Cessna said the company would not comment on the similarities between the two crashes but said: "Cessna is doing everything required in support of the Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) and has fielded engineers to support the investigation work.

"We are deeply saddened by the accident but we are waiting for the investigation to determine the actual cause.

"We can confirm that the serial number of the Oklahoma flight was 285 and the Farnborough flight was 287. We do not have plans to recall aircraft number 286.

"At this stage in the process there is no apparent need to inform customers of any issues with regards to the aircraft. We are working closely with the investigators and await the outcome of their work. Any further steps will be determined upon the publication of their report.""

Specialists from America and Canada were flown to the UK to help the AAIB determine the cause of the crash.

They are expected to remain in the country throughout the investigation and will help in the preparation of a report due to be published in less than three weeks.

Two engines were all that remained of the Farnborough crash and have since been moved to Farnborough, Hampshire for investigation.

Katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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