Alps plane pilot ‘deliberately crash landed into mountain-side to save his life’

Alps plane pilot ‘deliberately crash landed into mountain-side to save his life’


One of the pilots involved in the two Alps plane crashes last week deliberately crash landed 'to save his life', his friend has claimed.

Richard Pike says it was 'incredibly lucky' that his friend 'walked away without a scratch' from the crash landing on the side of a mountain.

Mr Pike, a company director at Purple Aviation, was one of seven friends who set off from Eshott Airfield in Northumberland on Sunday July 21.

The group on the 'trip of a lifetime' were flying to Malta in several stages, hoping to arrive on Saturday July 27.

But in southern France the holiday ended in tragedy when two planes crash landed.

Andrew Buck, 37, had been piloting one with Lewis Stubbs, 18, a passenger. Both were killed when the plane came down in woodland on the edge of the Alps over the Maddalena Pass, on France's border with Italy.

A second plane made a crash landing on a steep hill but the pilot was unharmed.

Writing on Facebook Mr Pike said: "Andrew was a friend that could be relied on.

"A true gent and passionate aviator who I will sorely miss.

"My only positive is knowing that I had never seen him happier than on this trip in the time I had know him.

"Lewis was new to our family. He was incredibly enthusiastic and a natural adventurer.

"He had loved his time with us on our incredible trip – I spoke to him the night before our accident, and remember the conversation about how this was all he had ever wanted to do.

"I am incredibly lucky that another friend walked away without a scratch after taking the incredibly brave decision to deliberately crash land into the side of a mountain.

"A great bit of airmanship that ultimately saved his life.

"There was no mid air collision. There was a terrible accident that was a factor in a second accident – and unfortunately for now that’s all I can say."

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