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The BBC's Paul Newman
"Accident investigators have started a detailed investigation"
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Frankie Dettori's agent, Peter Burrell
"This highlights the pressures on jockeys and the racing industry"
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Friday, 2 June, 2000, 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK
Dettori 'owes life' to pilot
plane wreckage
The light aircraft was heading for Goodwood
As an investigation gets under way into a fatal air crash that left two of Britain's top jockeys injured, one of them has paid tribute to the dead pilot.

Frankie Dettori and Ray Cochrane are preparing to spend a second night recovering in hospital from the crash, which killed pilot Patrick Mackey.

We just feel so lucky to be alive

Frankie Dettori and Ray Cochrane
Mr Mackey, 52, from Axminster, Devon, had been a pilot for 15 years.

In a joint statement, Dettori and Cochrane said: "We just feel so lucky to be alive and would like to thank everybody for their concern and good wishes.

"Patrick, the pilot, did a fantastic job. We would like to express our sympathy to his family and say that we owe our lives to his skill and courage."

Both jockeys are to stay in hospital for another day and possibily over the weekend.

A spokeswoman for Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge said a decision on whether to operate on Dettori's broken ankle would be made later on Friday.

She added: "Mr Dettori and Mr Cochrane are comfortable and sitting up in bed.

Catherine Dettori and son Leo
Catherine Dettori: "Very shocking"
"Both have initially been given time to recover from the trauma of the serious accident and have been seen by the relevant specialist teams.

"Mr Cochrane has extensive bruising to his chest and face. The trauma team that are looking after him are very pleased with his progress but feel they need to monitor him further before they make a decision about his discharge."

It will be some time before either jockey is fit to race again. Dettori is likely to be out of racing for at least two months.


Police said the jockeys had had a "miracle" escape when their plane crashed in flames at Newmarket racecourse.

Officers from the Air Accident Investigations Branch travelled to the crash scene and an investigation into the cause has been launched.

The crash comes just a month after another famous sportsman - motor racing driver David Coulthard - survived a fatal air accident.

Plane 'bouncing'

The American-built twin-engined Piper Seneca aircraft crashed at about 1230 BST on Thursday, shortly after taking off for Goodwood in West Sussex where they had been due to take part in a race meeting.

Cochrane, 42, helped Dettori from the plane and then went back to the blazing wreckage to try to rescue the pilot, witnesses said.

Frankie Dettori
Frankie Dettori has a broken ankle

Dettori's wife, Catherine said he called her on a mobile phone minutes after the crash.

"He said 'We have had a crash on the July course, and the pilot is dead'," Mrs Dettori told reporters as she visited her husband in hospital.

"It is all very shocking. We cannot really get our heads around it.

"You just never think it's going to happen to you or anyone you know."

Mrs Dettori praised Cochrane for helping her husband and said her thoughts were with the family of the pilot.

She added: "From what I can gather the plane was bouncing on the ground after they took off.

"He (Dettori) thinks one of the propellers was caught on the edge as it was bouncing.

"He said the pilot was amazing - he got them over a bank."

Out of Derby

Dettori's commercial agent, Peter Burrell, said both jockeys regularly used planes.

"The planes take them from the July course in Newmarket," he said.

Ray Cochrane suffered burns and bruises
Ray Cochrane helped Dettori from the plane
"They fly to afternoon meetings and evening meetings. The planes are well maintained and the pilots are very professional."

Mr Burrell added Dettori would have no chance of riding in the Derby on 10 June.

"He's definitely out of the Derby. I shouldn't think he will be back racing until mid-August. A broken ankle will take time to heal.

"The Derby will have to wait until next year. I imagine that once he has got out of here and settled down, he will go on holiday."

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See also:

01 Jun 00 | Sport
The colourful Frankie Dettori
03 May 00 | Scotland
Coulthard survives plane crash
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