Pattaya Daily News

18 November 2012 :: 14:11:28 pm 68639

Brit Pilot Dies During Funeral Rite Over Pattaya

A 57-year-old British pilot was killed and his passenger seriously injured when his Microlight aircraft engine died and they plunged into the sea near the Bali Hai pier. His passenger, a 31-year-old Scot, was scattering a friend’s cremated ashes over the ocean off Pattaya Beach.
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PATTAYA – November 17, 2012 [Pattaya Daily News]; at 2:30 p.m., a report of a small plane hitting the new Balihai port bridge on its downward crash and severely injuring two foreigners was received by Pol. Lt. Surachok Kangwanwanich, investigation officer on duty, Pattaya police station, Chonburi province.

The crash occurred at the port of tourism boats in Laem Balihai, south Pattaya, opposite of the sea rescue unit, Pattaya, Moo 10 Tambon Nong Preu, Amphur Banglamung.

Near the crash scene at the end of the bridge, police found the construction workers who were building the new port bridge standing around and gawking. The two foreigners had already been transported to Pattaya Memorial hospital. Police saw only a big oil slick floating in the ocean nearby.

So the police went to the hospital to investigate the victims. The pilot was identified as Mr. Thomas David Grieve age 57, nationality British. His lung had been punctured by his rib, and there were severe bruises all over his body. Doctors were not able to save him, and he later died.

The other injured man was his passenger, Mr. Patrick Esser, age 31, from Scotland. He suffered a broken left arm and was in stable condition.

Police questioned several eyewitnesses. Mr. Preecha Kakhai, age 50, the chairman of Thuppraya community, said that while he was washing his boat, he saw the small yellow “Micro Light” type plane circling the area around the new port bridge, and someone was throwing some powder in the sea.

Then in the third go-around, he heard the engine die, which caused the plane to fall down rapidly. It hit the concrete bridge severely before slamming into the ocean and then gradually sank to the bottom of the sea.

Several foreigners on a nearby speedboat jumped into the sea and swam to help the two injured foreigners, and sent them to the hospital. But Mr. Thomas could not endure his wounds so he died later.

The submerged aircraft was later retrieved by the rescue officer of Sawangboribulthammasathan and the Pattaya sea rescue unit. The small Micro Light plane had a 100 hp, 4-stroke engine. Both wings were broken, and there was other severe damage all over the plane.

Mr. Thomas was an experienced flight instructor and had flown aircraft all over the world. On his last flight, Mr. Thomas had flown from the small airport in Nong Preu, Banglamung. He was taking Mr. Patrick to scatter the ashes of a foreign friend over Pattaya bay.

The deceased person’s relatives and friends had rented two speedboats to wait in the middle of the bay. However, at the time it was raining heavily and it was very windy, which might have caused the engine to malfunction and die. So the plane fell and hit the bridge before sinking into the sea.

The police will coordinate with the department of civil aviation to inspect the plane to find the exact cause of this incident again, and informed the British embassy.

Mr. Preecha, the eyewitness, said many local people believe the crash was linked to a mysterious god that the fishermen respect. They believe Mr. Thomas flew over the joss house located close to the Thupppraya hill, and the fearsome deity caused the aircraft engine to die.

Reporter : Tanasab   Photo : Tanasab   Category : Community News

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