Last words of tragic West Hallam pilot revealed

Carl and Kathryn Whiteley
Carl and Kathryn Whiteley

The last words of a West Hallam businessman who was killed when the plane he and his wife were travelling in plunged into the sea have been revealed in a report into the fatal accident.

Carl and Kathryn Whiteley, both 55, were flying to Jersey from Dinan in France on September 4 2013 when Carl became ‘disorientated’ in foggy conditions.

A report into the accident by the Air Accident Investigations Branch, released this week, said that in Mr Whiteley’s last radio transmission from the Cessna Crusader to the Jersey Air Control Tower he said: “Erm, sorry can you give me the frequen.... Sorry I’ve done... completely gone wrong way round there just eh... One moment.”

Radar data showed that the couple’s plane was travelling at just 100ft above the water moments before the crash.

Mr Whiteley, founder director at Derby-based finance firm Belmont Regency Group, tried to guide the aircraft back to a safe height but in doing so the engines stalled and the plane plunged into the sea.

The crash killed the couple of 40 years who leave two daughters Sarah and Gillian and grandchildren.

Hundreds of people attended a memorial service for the pair at St Wilfrid’s Church in West Hallam following the tragedy.

The report states: “The rapid pull-up manoeuvre suggests that the pilot suddenly became aware of his low height or saw the proximity of the surface of the sea.”

The report concludes: “The accident was probably a result of the pilot’s attempt to recover to normal flight following a stall or significant loss of airspeed at a low height, after a rapid climb manoeuvre having become disorientated during the approach in fog.”

The search for the plane’s wreckage involved 20 boats and three aircraft.