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Plane in fatal Sandringham crash had not been properly maintained – report

Two people died when the Piper PA-28 aircraft came down in marshland near Wolferton, Norfolk on September 11 last year.

A light aircraft involved in a fatal crash on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate had not been properly maintained, an investigation has found.

Two people died when the Piper PA-28 aircraft came down in marshland near Wolferton, Norfolk, on September 11 last year.

Pilot Nigel Dodds, 58, and passenger Valerie Barnes, 73, both from Gateshead, were pronounced dead at the scene.

An inquiry by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) revealed the plane crashed into an old sea wall after the engine failed during a flight from Southend to Newcastle.

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Police at the scene of the crash (Joe Giddens/PA)

Investigators found the problem was caused by oil loss, noting the engine had not been maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions while it was unused for long periods and parked outside.

During the flight, Mr Dodds transmitted a Mayday call stating he had a “very rough running engine”.

A controller at the Distress and Diversion emergency cell at Swanwick, Hampshire, advised the pilot that Great Massingham Airfield was around nine miles away.

Mr Dodds replied he would not make it that far, adding: “It’s gonna be a field.”

This was the last transmission received from the aircraft and was 30 seconds before radar contact was lost.

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