UK: Top Jockeys in 'miracle' escape from fatal plane crashgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
An investigation has been launched into a fatal air crash which left two of Britain's top jockeys injured.
Frankie Dettori and Ray Cochrane spent Thursday night in hospital recovering from the crash which killed the pilot of their light aircraft.
He has been named as Patrick MacKey, 52, from All Saints, Axminster, Devon. He had been a pilot for 15 years.
Officers from the Air Accident Investigations Branch travelled from their headquarters in Farnborough, Hampshire, to the crash scene and an investigation into the cause has been launched.
The crash comes just a month after another famous sportsman - motor racing driver David Coulthard - survived a fatal air accident.
Cochrane, 42, helped Dettori from the plane and then went back to the blazing wreckage to try to rescue the pilot, witnesses said.
Dettori, 29, fractured his right ankle and injured a thumb, while Cochrane suffered bruises and burns.
Both are expected to leave hospital on Friday, but will not race again for some time. Dettori is likely to be out of racing for at least two months.
The pilot was trapped in the plane, despite the rescue efforts of paramedics.
They had taken off in an American-built twin-engined Piper Seneca aircraft bound for Goodwood in West Sussex where they had been due to take part in a race meeting.
The crash happened just after 1230 BST on Thursday between the July and Rowley Mile courses.
"It would certainly seem to be a miracle that anyone got out of it alive," said Suffolk Police Inspector Steve Brown.
Captain Nick Lees, the director of racing and clerk of the course, said both men were very shaken after the incident.
"I ran on to the field and saw Frankie and Ray huddled together about 50 yards away from the plane," he said.
"They were both conscious. I cannot even describe the emotions that went through my head. I just saw smoke billowing out of the plane."
Dettori's commercial agent, Peter Burrell, said both jockeys regularly used planes.
"The planes take them from the July course in Newmarket," he said.
"They fly to afternoon meetings and evening meetings. The planes are well maintained and the pilots are very professional."
-- Jim McAteer (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 02, 2000