Caernarfon air crash report suggests engine ice cause

The light aircraft wreckageThe plane had been flying from Blackpool when it crashed on its approach to Caernarfon airport

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A light aircraft crash at Caernarfon airport in which a passenger died may have been caused by ice in the engine, an official report said.

Iain Nuttall, 37, from Blackburn, died when a Piper Cherokee flown by his father lost power and hit a tree as it approached the airfield in May 2013.

The Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) report said it found no mechanical faults with the engine.

The report added that the dead man may not have been strapped into his seat.

John Nuttall, 61, had hired the four-seater aircraft at Blackpool Airport and took off at 10:30 BST on 19 May 2013, flying to Caernarfon with his son Iain and grandson Daniel, five, on board.

Iain NuttallIain Nuttall, 37, was a passenger in a plane flown by his father

Witnesses at Caernarfon told investigators the plane was flying very low, appeared slow and was making spluttering noises before it hit a tree and crashed nose down just inside the airfield boundary.

The pilot and child survived the crash and were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The report said the pilot had had a licence since 2006, was familiar with the route and that weather conditions had been suitable for the flight.

However, investigators found that atmospheric conditions on the day suggested a risk of the plane’s carburettor suffering “serious icing at any power” in the latter part of the flight.

“The investigation did not find any evidence of a failure within the engine but the atmospheric conditions were conducive to carburettor icing,” the report said.

The pilot could not remember when or for how long he had applied carburettor heating in an attempt to clear the ice, it added.

The report also highlighted the benefits of a correctly-warn harness, noting that two of the three people on board survived the crash.

The report said: “A post-mortem examination was carried out on the deceased passenger. There was evidence to suggest that the passenger had not been restrained by either a lap or shoulder harness at the time of the accident.”

Sourced from BBC Wales News

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