British farmer killed in Canadian plane crash

Alan SimpsonImage copyright Family handout
Image caption Alan Simpson was an experienced pilot, his family said

A poultry farmer from Shropshire has died in a plane crash in Canada.

Alan Simpson, 73, from Prees, was one of two pilots in the aircraft which crashed into a mountain in the Labrador region during “poor weather” on 1 May.

The other pilot, from Belgium, was injured and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it was working with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada to determine the cause of the crash.

Mr Simpson’s family said he would be “deeply missed”.

In a statement, they said he had been flying for over 35 years and had been travelling from the US to the UK with another experienced pilot at the time of the crash.

‘Beyond remote’

They added they were “eternally grateful” to the search and rescue teams that helped locate the plane.

“Alan was a vibrant character who lived life to the max and will be deeply missed by the extensive group of family and friends he has left behind,” his family said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said weather conditions were poor at the time of the crash

Major Mark Norris, from the Canadian Armed Forces Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax, and who was part of the search and rescue operation, said it was “very complex and challenging” as the plane crashed in an area “beyond remote”.

He said they received an alert from the single-engine aircraft’s emergency transmitting beacon at 09:30 local time (13:30 BST) and teams were deployed to a mountain near Makkovik.

He said one of the men was able to send text messages to rescue teams, and, despite the weather conditions, the pair were extracted several hours later. Mr Simpson was pronounced dead in a clinic in Makkovik.

Police added both men were pilots and an investigation was taking place to determine “who was actively piloting” at the time.

Oliver Cartwright, a spokesman for the National Farmers’ Union, said the organisation was “deeply saddened” by Mr Simpson’s death.

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