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Sun, Dec 07, 2003

Three Dead In UK Aviation Accident

Details Still Sketchy -- Pilot Was Trying To Land

Three people are dead after a GA aircraft crashed on landing near Oxford, England.

The unidentified Belgian pilot was reportedly trying to land at Kidlington Airport in Oxfordshire Saturday. "The plane crashed as it was coming into the airport," said a Thames Valley Police spokeswoman. "We can confirm that three people died. There are no survivors."

The two other victims were identified by the French news agency, AFP, as Paul-Louis Halley, 69, and his wife Annick, 63. They're among the top shareholders in Carrefour, the world's second largest retailer. Paul-Louis was also co-founder of the Promodes fashion group.

More than two dozen investigators were on the scene late Saturday. The spokeswoman said the aircraft was performing unusual maneuvers shortly before the accident. "Eyewitnesses have not reported seeing smoke or fire but did report the plane looping prior to impact." Britain's Civil Aviation Authority is leading the probe.

Local pilot Mark Coombs told the BBC a slightly more detailed version. "The aircraft appeared to be making a fairly normal approach at about 200-300 yards before the end of the runway. It made a level left turn and rolled to the left and then went down, almost spiralling perpendicularly."

FMI: www.caa.co.uk

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