Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 16:28 UK

Sorry Luftwaffe man's plane crash

Willi Schludecker as a young pilot, and in 2008
Pilot Willi Schludecker returned to apologise for his actions

A Luftwaffe pilot who carried out 120 bombing raids over Britain escaped unharmed after a plane's engine failed near the city he once tried to destroy.

Willi Schludecker carried out three missions over Bath in 1942, before returning last April to apologise.

The 88-year-old was flying to Bath last Friday with friend Chris Kilminster, 61, when the engine cut out.

Experienced pilot Richard Flohr-Swann made an emergency landing soon after take-off at nearby Marshfield.

Herr Schludecker experienced nine wartime plane crashes, while Mr Kilminster, who organised the April reconciliation, was on his maiden flight.

We went from 120mph to nothing in just a few seconds. The engine cut out completely
Chris Kilminster
Mr Kilminster said: "It was a potentially life-threatening incident, but Willi was absolutely relaxed. He just hugged me afterwards.

"That was Willi's 10th crash - he has had nine in his flying career, but this was his first civilian one.

"The pilot saved our lives, because he guided us past the trees. He does have 27 world records so that must have helped.

"We went from 120mph to nothing in just a few seconds. The engine cut out completely."

In his apology to the people of Bath, Mr Schludecker said sorry for the "dreadful harm" he had done in his Dornier 217E-4.

Mr Schludecker twice won the Iron Cross after carrying out 120 raids in England during World War II.

The Mooney M20T was later vandalised by thieves after the landing last Friday, causing 30,000 of damage.


SEE ALSO
Bomber pilot's peaceful legacy
25 Apr 08 |  Somerset
Luftwaffe pilot sorry for bombing
23 Apr 08 |  Somerset
WWII pilot to apologise to city
28 Mar 08 |  Somerset

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