AN official report has told how an elderly woman was rescued from a light aircraft which ditched in the Channel in an accident that her pilot husband did not survive.
Ian Dickinson, 79, was flying his wife, Anne-Marie, 78, from Lee-on-the-Solent to their home on Alderney in the Channel Islands when their plane lost electrical power.
Mr Dickinson became uncertain of his position and chose to ditch the aircraft close to a commercial vessel, an Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report said.
Mrs Dickinson was rescued in the incident on the afternoon of November 12 last year, but her husband was unable to get out of the plane before it sank and a subsequent search failed to find his body.
The AAIB said Mrs Dickinson had said she thought her husband might have become entangled as he tried to leave the aircraft.
The report added: “The problem that prevented the pilot vacating the aircraft is not known. From his wife’s account, it may have been something relatively simple such as an entanglement with the headset or the harness.” The AAIB said the decision to ditch was one “which guaranteed the loss of the aircraft and a high chance of injury or loss of life”.
But the report added that the pilot found himself in a confusing situation with few options and the ditching appeared well-executed, giving both occupants the best chance of survival.