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Bake Off star Paul Hollywood’s brother-in-law plane crash death due to poor planning

The plane crash which killed Bake Off star Paul Hollywood’s brother-in-law was caused by poor flight planning, air accident investigators have found.

Simon Moores crashed into a cloud and fog-covered mountain after flying through an area where he could not see properly, a Spanish probe has ruled.

The 62-year-old, whose sister Alex was married to Hollywood for nearly 20 years, died instantly along with passenger David Hockings after their light aircraft smashed into Mount Hernionear near the Basque Country town of Errezil.

Mr Hockings’ Piper Arrow III single-engine aircraft was destroyed in the January 9 2019 accident.

Simon Moores, 62, whose sister Alex was married to Hollywood for nearly 20 years, died instantly along with passenger David Hockings 

A Kent coroner said last September at Mr Moores’ inquest the reasons behind the crash were uncertain and concluded his death as unascertained.

Citing poor evidence and unreliable translations from Spanish documents, coroner Ian Gouldroup insisted: ‘We don’t know whether there was an engine problem, whether it was mechanical. We don’t know why the accident occurred.’

But the mystery hanging over the double tragedy was lifted today with the publication of a full report by the Civil Aviation Accident and Incident Investigation Commission (CIAIAC), the Spanish national agency responsible for air traffic investigation.

Mr Hockings' Piper Arrow III single-engine aircraft was destroyed in the January 9 2019 accident when the light aircraft smashed into Mount Hernionear near the Basque Country town of Errezil

Mr Hockings’ Piper Arrow III single-engine aircraft was destroyed in the January 9 2019 accident when the light aircraft smashed into Mount Hernionear near the Basque Country town of Errezil

The agency said: ‘The investigation has determined that the accident resulted from the decision to continue flying through an area where the meteorological conditions were below the minimums required for flights being conducted under visual flight rules.

‘Improper flight planning is deemed to have contributed to the accident.

Ruling out any aircraft faults and saying pilot Mr Moores and his passenger had valid licences and ample flying experience, the investigators added in their 38-page report: ‘The frontal impact against the rock wall on the mountain was so violent that there was no chance of survival.

Paul Hollywood was former brother-in-law of Simon Moores who was killed in Spanish plane crash. Paul and Alexandra Hollywood (pictured) were married for 19 years before they split in 2017. A judge granted a divorce decree at a hearing last July

Paul Hollywood was former brother-in-law of Simon Moores who was killed in Spanish plane crash. Paul and Alexandra Hollywood (pictured) were married for 19 years before they split in 2017. A judge granted a divorce decree at a hearing last July

‘The impact with the mountain occurred with no evasive manoeuvre by the pilot to either bank the airplane or pitch it up.

‘This clearly indicates that the crash occurred because the mountain was obscured from the pilot’s view.’

The two Brits left Cascais in Portugal at 8.30am local time and were heading for San Sebastian near Spain’s border with France when they crashed.

They were originally due to head to Biarritz in France but changed their destination the morning of the accident, citing potential refuelling problems which investigators said they had found no evidence to support.

The flight plan filed showed the journey was expected to last three hours 42 minutes.

Their last radio contact, with Bilbao Air Traffic control, was just after midday. Minutes later the radar signal from the aircraft was lost and the plane hit the south face of Mount Hernio.

The impact destroyed the Piper III and a subsequent fire, caused after the fuel tanks broke, consumed most of the aircraft’s fuselage.

The Spanish investigators revealed businessman Mr Moores, from Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, had a valid medical certificate and flight ratings when he was killed and 3,030 flying hours up to September 15 2018 when the last-recorded information was available.

Mr Hockings’ pilot licences and ratings were also found to be in order, with his flying time put at nearly 6,500 hours including 525 on the same type of aircraft as the crash plane.

Ruling out any aircraft faults and saying pilot Mr Moores and his passenger had valid licences and ample flying experience, the investigators added in their 38-page report: “The frontal impact against the rock wall on the mountain was so violent that there was no chance of survival

Ruling out any aircraft faults and saying pilot Mr Moores and his passenger had valid licences and ample flying experience, the investigators added in their 38-page report: ‘The frontal impact against the rock wall on the mountain was so violent that there was no chance of survival

The Spanish air accident investigators said they had been told by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch Mr Moores was a registered user of SkyDemon, a private firm which provides pilots with flight planning information including weather data.

SkyDemon’s records show the pilot used the service for four minutes on the eve of the flight and half an hour on the day of the accident, but there are no records of what was checked.

Investigators said there was no evidence pointing to the two Brits requesting weather information at their take-off destination or from the UK’s Met Office.

They also highlighted in their report the crew’s apparent lack of knowledge of procedures for exiting Portuguese airspace, evident from their failure to find the exit point on the map in radio conversation with Lisbon air traffic controllers, and the fact they flew 500ft below the ‘appropriate’ altitude over Spain.

Dad-of-two Mr Moores, owner of a banner-flying company, posted stunning cockpit images from over Spanish mountains as they flew towards the spot where they crashed

Dad-of-two Mr Moores, owner of a banner-flying company, posted stunning cockpit images from over Spanish mountains as they flew towards the spot where they crashed

The weather forecast for the area where the crash occurred on January 9 last year showed adverse conditions including rain, low crowds and ‘mountain obscuration.’

An eyewitness who heard the plane and the impact and alerted the authorities because he suspected it had crashed into the mountain, said there was a thick fog at the time which blocked his view of the aircraft.

Highlighting the ‘improper’ flight planning, the report stated: ‘In light of its path and altitudes, the flight does not seem to be consistent with one that was planned beforehand from an operational standpoint.

‘Instead, it has characteristics typical of a flight in which only the route was planned, with this route being following during the flight possibly on GPS.

Mr Moores was openly scathing of Paul's brief relationship with barmaid Summer Monteys-Fulham after the star's split from his sister, saying: 'I am sure it will all end in tears.' His sister has said in the past she is still too traumatised to talk about her brother's death

Mr Moores was openly scathing of Paul’s brief relationship with barmaid Summer Monteys-Fulham after the star’s split from his sister, saying: ‘I am sure it will all end in tears.’ His sister has said in the past she is still too traumatised to talk about her brother’s death

‘The altitude is selected during the flight itself on the basis of guaranteeing suitable separation with the terrain.

‘This fact became more apparent as the aircraft approached the destination airport.’

It added: ‘Had the flight been planned in more detail, the crew would have known that the aircraft could not descend below 4,500 feet until after the line of summits that includes Mount Hernio.

‘The fact that the aircraft was already flying below 4,500ft some nine miles before reaching Mount Hernio shows that the crew had not studied and planned the altitude that was required, at least for this part of the flight.’

The two Brits left Cascais in Portugal at 8.30am local time and were heading for San Sebastian near Spain's border with France when they crashed. They were originally due to head to Biarritz in France but changed their destination the morning of the accident, citing potential refuelling problems which investigators said they had found no evidence to support

The two Brits left Cascais in Portugal at 8.30am local time and were heading for San Sebastian near Spain’s border with France when they crashed. They were originally due to head to Biarritz in France but changed their destination the morning of the accident, citing potential refuelling problems which investigators said they had found no evidence to support

Dad-of-two Mr Moores, owner of a banner-flying company, posted stunning cockpit images from over Spanish mountains as they flew towards the spot where they crashed.

He also wrote about the route alteration at 7.24am, just an hour and a half before take-off, saying: ‘Dawn’s early light – apparently Biarritz make it very difficult to refuel so go to San Sebastian instead.’

There were no members of Mr Moores’ family at the inquest at Canterbury Magistrates Court in Kent last September.

Paul and Alexandra Hollywood were married for 19 years before they spilt in 2017. A judge granted a divorce decree at a hearing last July.

Mr Moores was openly scathing of Paul’s brief relationship with barmaid Summer Monteys-Fulham after the star’s split from his sister, saying: ‘I am sure it will all end in tears.’

His sister has said in the past she still too traumatised to talk about his death.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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