The parents of a 29-year-old man watched in horror yesterday (Sunday) as the light plane their son was in crashed to the ground, killing both pilot and passenger.
The flight – which was only meant to have lasted a few minutes – ran into trouble as the plane prepared for landing at the aerodrome in Tomar, reports Correio da Manhã.
A loud bang brought other flyers and personnel running but there was nothing anyone could do.
Experienced pilot Miguel Marquês and passenger Telmo Ferreira – the son of a member of the flying club – were trapped inside the wreckage. By the time they had been cut out, they were both dead.
Telmo Ferreira’s parents were at the scene helping with preparations for the club’s 13th flying festival.
This was the second accident involving a light plane in two days, and the eighth death this year.
It was also the second accident at the Tomar aerodrome in the last nine months, stresses CM.
Landing carries “some risks” on the Valdonas runway, a source explained – but the accidents should not be seen as any indication that security was somehow at fault.
João Godinho, in charge of the aerodrome, said “the majority of accidents” in these incidents were due to human error.
“Sometimes there is too much confidence,” he told the paper. “All it needs is a small error. Everything goes very fast. There is no time for correction.”
The tragedy, which took place on a day without wind and with excellent weather, came just a day after a couple was slightly injured after their light plane came down near Alcácer do Sal. The pair have both been released already from hospital.
But this year has been marked by light plane tragedies, writes CM.
The first at Tomar came in January when 51-year-old pilot José Borga was killed, and then followed deaths throughout the centre and north of Portugal.
By NATASHA DONN [email protected]