Posted: Wed 11th Feb 2015

Accidental death verdict recorded at Hawarden air crash inquest

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 11th, 2015

A verdict of accidental death has been recorded at the inquest into a plane crash at Hawarden airport in November 2013 which killed both passengers. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Gary Vickers, 58 and his partner Kaye Clarke, 42 died when their twin engined Cessna hit the ground on approach to Hawarden following a flight from Paris. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Coroner John Gittins said it was unlikely the couple “would have known anything about it” adding “loss of consciousness was immediate”. Reports the BBC ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The inquest heard from Gordon Vickers the pilots father, he said his son was a “confident and competent pilot”. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Vickers also said he felt the fuel gauge on the aircraft was showing an inaccurate reading. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“On that type of plane, there’s no warning if the tank is empty,” he said ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Gary always inspected his fuel tanks before flying” said his father ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

An Air Accident Investigation Branch report (AAIB) in 2014 found the probable cause of the crash to be ‘fuel starvation’  ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Gary Vickers, co owned of the Mill Hotel in Chester with his father Gordon, was his way back to Hawarden piloting the flight from Paris which departed Lognes-Emerainville Aerodrome near the Capital at 10:01am on 15th November 2013. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

On approach into Hawarden the twin-engine plane veered sharply to the left, witnesses say it became unstable seconds before hitting the ground at 11:58am. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Recorded flight path: final approach and accident sequence

Recorded flight path: final approach and accident sequence

The 20 page AAIB report concludes that weather was fine on the day, and that no mechanical defect within the engines, the propellers or control systems of the aircraft were found however, it does but point to the mismanagement of the aircraft’s fuel system as the cause. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The report says: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“The accident occurred when the pilot lost control during a single-engine go-around manoeuvre, after the speed had fallen below the minimum control speed. The investigation  concluded that the loss of power on the left engine just before landing was due to fuel starvation which resulted from mismanagement of the aircraft’s fuel system. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Wreckage of the Cessna 310Q which was built in 1970

Wreckage of the Cessna 310Q which was built in 1970

The report goes on to say: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Mr Vickers father, also an experienced private pilot, described his son as being competent and meticulous.With regard to fuel planning, the pilot was known for always using a dipstick to measure fuel quantities before flight rather than relying on fuel gauges, and would have been aware of the exact quantity  of fuel required for a flight. The pilot was also described as being very sensitive to fuel economy and aware of fuel prices at different airfields.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Pilot Gary Vickers died at the scene of the crash while partner Kaye Clarke died later in hospital.  ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Service (RFFS) appliances were quickly on scene and their crews began life saving activities on the two occupants, who were exhibiting signs of life at this stage. Both occupants had been wearing seat belts and both were initially  trapped in the wreckage and treated in situ until freed with the use of hydraulic rescue equipment. Local fire and ambulance vehicles also arrived on scene. Despite the efforts of the RFFS staff and the paramedics, the pilot died at the scene from his injuries. The passenger was taken by ambulance to Chester hospital but succumbed to her injuries a short while later” the report says. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Shortly after the accident Gary Vickers father Gordon said: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Mr Vickers said flying was his son’s passion, adding: “Sadly there is always a risk. It is very sad that two lives have ended this way. We would like to thank the emergency services at Hawarden for their prompt attendance.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Main Picture of Gary Vickers Credit: Gordon Vickers ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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