Passenger crash-lands plane in Spain after pilot collapses

Sunday, August 23, 2015

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MADRID, Spain (AFP) – A woman was seriously injured Sunday in an ultralight aircraft crash in Spain after she was forced to fly the plane -- despite having no flight experience – when the pilot lost consciousness, officials said.

The woman suffered burns and multiple contusions, while the pilot died, though it was unclear if that happened before or after the plane crashed near Seville airport in southwestern Spain, an emergency services spokesman said.

"He died, possibly before the accident, during the flight," the spokesman said.

Spanish media reported that the man and woman were married.

"The woman kept flying, she did not [know] how to fly, so they guided her from the control tower to see if she could control the plane until landing it at the airport," he added.

Emergency services also dispatched a helicopter and a plane to guide the light plane down.

"The plane can fly without any problem. Don't worry the plane is not going to crash," an air traffic controller can be heard telling the woman according to a recording of their exchange released by the online edition of local daily newspaper Diario de Sevilla.

"Don't worry you are going to land without any problem," he added before asking her the plane's altitude. 

The plane crashed about three kilometres (two miles) short of the beginning of the runway at Seville airport during the attempted landing, according to Spain's airport authority AENA. 

The airport remained closed for just under two hours because of the crash forcing four flights bound for Seville to be diverted to the nearby city of Jerez de la Frontera, the airport authority added.

The ultralight aircraft had taken off from the city of Trebujena and had been scheduled to land in Coria del Rio, a small town near Seville.

Seville is Spain's 13th busiest airport. It moved 3.9 million passengers last year, according to AENA's website.


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