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Pilot cleared over storm crash deaths.

A pilot was yesterday cleared of causing a plane crash that killed 12 people.

Investigators blamed instrument failure for the tragedy.

The Knight Air Bandeirante, piloted by John Casson, 49, was bound for Aberdeen.

It came down during a thunderstorm shortly after taking off from Leeds on May 24 last year.

The report revealed the aircraft suffered problems with its two artificial horizon screens. That meant the crew couldn't keep it level in the poor weather conditions.

It plunged into a fatal dive as they tried to return to Leeds. The 21- seater plane began to break up and catch fire as it spiralled into a field, killing all on board.

Five Scots were among those who died. Co-pilot Paul Denton, 29, from Yorkshire, had only been married a month.

Department of Transport air accident investigators, in their report, have called for a third artificial horizon and a voice cockpit recorder to be fitted to all aircraft with more than nine seats.

The findings are likely to provide the framework for a massive compensation claim by the victims' families.

Aberdeen solicitor Roy Grant, who is representing them, said: "They are happy with the findings.

"The burning issue for them has always been what exactly happened and now they know."

Among the dead were hospital boss Philip Race, 46, and accountant Catherine Duguid, 35, from Aberdeen; contracts manager Bill Ingram, 62, of Aberdeenshire and Ellon computer expert Philip Hutchinson, 34.
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Dow, Bob
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 28, 1996
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