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'Hero' pilot's mayday call heard

Capt Robert Mansell
Capt Robert Mansell (Pic courtesy of St Maarten Island Time.com)

The final mayday call from a British pilot who died after ditching his passenger plane in the Caribbean Sea has been released.

Robert Mansell, 32, originally from Knowle, West Midlands, was hailed a hero when he died while saving his nine passengers by ditching his plane.

In the recording he tells the controllers he has lost an engine.

He was flying between the south Caribbean islands of Curacao and Bonaire on Wednesday when he crashed.

In the recording, Captain Mansell asks for the aircraft controller's attention, then says: "Divi aero one four requesting a switch to Flamingo and priority landing Flamingo, I've lost one of my engines."

Captain Mansell was five minutes short of the destination when he was forced to ditch the twin-engine Britten-Norman Islander.

His employers, Divi Divi Air, said he had used his skills as a "good pilot" to save lives.

Simon Janzen, from the company, said: "He's a hero. All the passengers survived and he is the only one missing. If he wasn't a good pilot, he couldn't have ditched it so everyone could be saved.

"Other pilots wouldn't have known what to do but he landed the aircraft so that everyone could get out safely."

Bonaire, which along with Curacao is part of the Netherlands Antilles, lies about 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela.



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'Hero' pilot killed in Caribbean
24 Oct 09 |  Americas

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