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James Horner dies: Titanic film composer's crash plane was built in Belfast

By Lesley Houston

Published 25/06/2015

Composer James Horner
Composer James Horner

Bombardier has said it will help the US investigation into the plane crash that killed Titanic composer James Horner after it emerged the Tucano he died in was built in Belfast.

The S-312 Tucano turboprop is manufactured by Shorts, just yards from where the Titanic was built in the Harland & Wolff shipyard. The Oscar-winning music maker had been piloting the small plane when it went down on Monday in a remote area of the Los Padres National Forest in California. The single engine two-seater was in production at Shorts in east Belfast between 1986 - a year before it was bought over by Canadian aviation firm Bombardier - and 1995.

Horner won two Oscars for the film score of Titanic in 1997 and its hit theme song, My Heart Will Go On, sung by Celine Dion.

American Titanic enthusiast and retired air traffic controller William Aslaksen said it was a "strange irony" that the composer's work had helped whip up international interest in the White Star Liner's home, just a stone's throw away from where the aircraft he died in was built.

The Californian said: "The movie would never have been such a success and guided so many people to your lovely city had it not been for the musical score written by this man."

Last night a spokeswoman for Bombardier confirmed it had been a Shorts Tucano which was involved in the fatal accident.

The company said: "Bombardier Belfast has offered to provide the US accident investigation body, the National Transportation Safety Board, with information on the aircraft configuration as designed and delivered by us to the RAF. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of the deceased."

The prolific 61-year-old composer's credits ranged from big-budget blockbusters to foreign-language indies and his work was nominated for 10 Academy Awards.

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