Thursday 19 October 2017

BAE staff among five dead in California mid-air crash

Wreckage from the crash between two planes, one leased by BAE Systems, in southern San Diego County (U-T San Diego/AP)
Wreckage from the crash between two planes, one leased by BAE Systems, in southern San Diego County (U-T San Diego/AP)

Five people have died in a mid-air collision between two planes - one leased by British defence contractor BAE Systems - in Southern California.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Andrew Swick said four people were aboard a twin-engine Sabreliner jet that collided with a single-engine Cessna 172.

The jet was leased by military contractor BAE Systems, which said its employees were aboard the aircraft.

Mr Swick said the pilot of the Cessna, who was also killed in the crash, was on a cross-country trip.

Both planes were approaching Brown Field Municipal Airport in San Diego County when they collided.

The planes caught fire when they hit the ground and broke apart. First responders said the wreckage was strewn across a quarter of a mile.

A BAE spokesman said he was unable to comment on whether any of those killed were British-based employees.

Later a BAE spokesman said: "Yesterday BAE Systems was notified that a small plane carrying three employees, and a contractor working on behalf of BAE Systems, collided with another small plane near Brownfield in San Diego County.

"Today, we can confirm that BAE Systems employees Carlos Palos, John Kovach and Jeff Percy were killed in that crash. The contractor, working for BAE Systems, was also killed. The BAE Systems twin-engine Saberliner was on a customer training mission.

"BAE Systems employees send their thoughts and prayers to the family members and co-workers of those killed. We are committed to supporting investigators as they work to understand how this collision occurred. Any calls about this investigation should be directed to the National Transportation Safety Board."

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