Sunday 22 September 2019

Three Britons die after light aircraft crashes in Dubai

Screengrab of the tweet posted by Dubai Media Office of the air crash in Dubai. Photo: Dubai Media Office/PA Wire
Screengrab of the tweet posted by Dubai Media Office of the air crash in Dubai. Photo: Dubai Media Office/PA Wire

Thomas Hornall

Three Britons have died after a UK-registered light aircraft crashed in Dubai, authorities said.

The four-seat plane plummeted to the ground around three miles south of Dubai International Airport, killing all four people on board, according to the United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

Three UK citizens and one South African died, it added in a statement.

The crash happened as the DA42 aircraft was "on a mission to calibrate terrestrial navigation systems at the airport", said the GCAA.

Screengrab of the tweet posted by Dubai Media Office of the air crash in Dubai. Photo: Dubai Media Office/PA Wire
Screengrab of the tweet posted by Dubai Media Office of the air crash in Dubai. Photo: Dubai Media Office/PA Wire

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are working closely with the Emirati authorities following reports of a small aircraft crash in Dubai."

The Diamond DA42 aircraft is described on the Diamond website as having a "high degree of crashworthiness" and being "easy to fly and burns fuel like a single, but with the added safety of a second engine".

The Government of Dubai Media Office tweeted an image of a small plane with the registration G-MDME in its initial announcement of the crash.

That aircraft is registered to Flight Calibration Services Ltd, based in Shoreham, West Sussex, according to Flight Radar.

In November the company said it had secured a contract to carry out work at Dubai International Airport.

A spokesman declined to comment on Thursday evening.

The Diamond website added: "Diamond's industry-leading safety record is the result of our commitment to protecting you and your passengers with a long list of active and passive safety features.

"Active safety features help to avoid accidents in the first place, the first and most important line of defence.

"Passive safety features are designed to minimise the probability and degree of injury, in case the unexpected happens.

"The DA42 offers the ultimate in handling, stability and control, ease of operation and structural, system and propulsion redundancies, all coupled with a high degree of crashworthiness."

The aircraft, which has an all-carbon airframe, has a maximum speed of 226mph, can operate at a maximum altitude of 18,000ft and weighs 1,410kg, the site added.

Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest by international passenger traffic, was closed between 7.36pm and 8.22pm local time before reopening, said Dubai Airports.

According to the Dubai media office, Honeywell - a US-based multinational involved in engineering and aerospace systems - said: "The plane was not owned or operated by Honeywell but by a third party engaged by Honeywell. We are waiting for more details."

The Dubai media office had previously said the plane was owned by Honeywell.

Investigations are under way and the airport is operating as normal.

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