Page last updated at 01:33 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 02:33 UK

Co-pilot's final words revealed

Investigators at the scene
All five on board died when the plane crashed into a house

The last words of the co-pilot of a plane which crashed into a house killing five people have been published in a preliminary accident report.

The report quoted the co-pilot saying: "We have major problem, a major power problem, it looks as though we're, er, going in, we're going in".

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said that was the final radio transmission from the plane.

Two crew and three passengers died in the 30 March crash in Kent.

British Touring Car championship driver David Leslie, 54; Apex Motorsport boss Richard Lloyd, 63; Christopher Allarton, 25, and pilots Mike Roberts, 63, and Michael Chapman, 57, died in the crash at Farnborough, near Orpington.

'Everything normal'

The report said "some doubt currently exists" as to who was the pilot and who the co-pilot at the time of the crash.

The AAIB said for the purposes of the report the 57-year-old pilot - which would have been Mr Chapman - was the commander, making Mr Roberts the co-pilot.

The plane had taken off from Biggin Hill airport in Kent, and the tower controller at the airport said "everything appeared normal".

However, the crew had decided to turn back just two minutes into their flight after experiencing "engine vibration", the report said.

The AAIB said the report was to outline the facts and "no analysis has been attempted".

The aircraft was not, nor was required to be, carrying any black box flight recorder equipment.

Runway examination

The report said: "Examination of the wreckage, however, did not reveal any evidence of pre-impact restrictions in the flight control circuits and examination of the engines after disassembly, revealed no evidence of either engine having suffered a bird strike or foreign object damage.

"Furthermore, no pre-impact damage or failures were found in any of the rotating assemblies or main bearings."

The AAIB said the aircraft flew "extremely low over the roofs of several houses before its left wing impacted the roof of a house at the end of a residential close adjacent to a small wood".

The AAIB said a search of the Biggin Hill runway had been conducted after the accident but "no debris from the aircraft or foreign objects were found which could have contributed to the accident".

The investigation continues.


SEE ALSO
Crash raises concern over safety
31 Mar 08 |  England
In pictures: Kent air crash
30 Mar 08 |  In Pictures


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