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Last Updated: Monday, 5 February 2007, 12:18 GMT
Fatal plane crash pair are named
Andrew Walker and Roy Hellawell
The plane crashed into the sea after disappearing off the radar
Two men who died when their light aeroplane crashed off the Lancashire coast have been named by police.

The bodies of Roy Hellawell, 74, and Andrew Walker, 26, both from Fylde, Lancashire, were recovered from the fuselage of the plane.

The Piper Cherokee crashed off the Fylde coast near Blackpool on Saturday, as it approached the resort's airport. The wreckage was recovered on Sunday.

An investigation is under way into the cause of the accident.

Lancashire Police said the wreckage was recovered off South Shore and was lifted from the beach by a digger.

'Devastated' reaction

It has been taken away for the Air Accident Investigation Branch to inspect.

The four-seater aircraft crashed into the sea close to the shore between the central and south piers after it was lost from Blackpool Airport's radar.

Mr Hellawell was a widower who lived in St Annes and had a grown-up son.

Mr Walker leaves behind a partner. He lived with his parents in Moss House Lane, Westby.

The Comed flying club, based at Blackpool Airport, confirmed that Mr Hellawell and Mr Walker had both been members.

Plane wreckage
The aircraft wreckage was recovered from the sea at Blackpool

The club's chief flying instructor, Robert Murgatroyd, said that contrary to police reports, Mr Hellawell was no longer a qualified flying instructor, although he had been one.

Mr Murgatroyd said: "I knew both of them, I'm devastated at their deaths. They were top men.

"I'd known Roy for 20 years and Andrew for six."

It is believed the pair had rented the plane, but it is not yet clear who was piloting.

Supt Richard Debicki said: "It would of course be quite wrong of me to speculate on the cause of the crash - that will come out in the fullness of time I'm sure as the investigation unfolds."

Small aircraft such as the single-engine Piper Cherokee do not carry black boxes, so investigators will need to rely on other information to determine the cause of the accident.

Post-mortem examinations are due to be held.

The men were members of the same flying club

Bodies found in crashed aircraft
04 Feb 07 |  Lancashire
Wreckage found in hunt for plane
04 Feb 07 |  Lancashire

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