Mid Wales

Welshpool air crash: Investigation begins after two die

Bob Jones
Image caption Bob Jones founded Mid Wales Airport in the early 1990s

An investigation into the cause of a plane crash that left two people dead in Powys has started.

The twin-engine aircraft came down in a field on Long Mountain, near Welshpool, on Wednesday.

One of the dead has been named locally as Bob Jones, an experienced pilot who was founder and manager of nearby Mid Wales Airport.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) started to examine the wreckage on Thursday.

Dyfed-Powys Police were called to the crash scene near the village of Leighton at about 12:00 GMT on Wednesday.

The alarm was raised by the airport after the twin-engine aircraft failed to return after a short flight.

"Investigators and technical experts are currently at the scene and investigations will continue throughout today and into tomorrow," said Det Chief Insp Greg Williams.

"We have appointed family liaison officers to the families concerned, and Her Majesty's coroner has been fully updated with regards to the circumstances.

"Inquiries to establish what's happened here are ongoing."

Mr Jones, who was also a farmer, founded and built Mid Wales Airport on his land.

Farmer's vision

Serving as a business airport and for general aviation, it was developed from a grass airstrip in 1990 to act as a base for companies operating aircraft in the area.

Wales Air Ambulance's mid Wales helicopter also flies out of the airport.

Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies worked with Mr Jones to develop the airport when Mr Davies was chairman of a regional development agency.

"Bob was a local farmer who loved flying," Mr Davies said.

"It was a grass strip on the farm and he just decided to convert the grass strip.

"I became involved because I was the chairman of a local development agency at the time, and I was one of his instruments in delivering his vision.

"There are companies in mid Wales now who wouldn't be there except for Bob Jones."

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan said: "I am deeply saddened to hear the news of the Welshpool air accident which has killed two individuals onboard.

"This will be extremely distressing for the families of those involved and for surrounding communities and I am receiving regular updates as the situation unfolds."

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