Tribute to Crash Pilot

The family of Alan Weal, the pilot who died when his aircraft crashed on Adur Recreation Ground on Monday afternoon (4 July), has released the following tribute:

"Alan was a Captain for British Airways for many years who flew all over the world and lived life to the full. He loved aeroplanes and when he retired from BA, he built his own light aircraft.

"His extensive flying experience helped avert a tragedy greater than that so sharply felt by his family; his mum, wife, two daughters, three grandchildren and his many friends. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him."

The aircraft, a RV6, was in collision with another plane shortly before 4.30pm and crashed on to Adur Recreation Ground, where it caught fire. There were people in the recreation ground at the time, but there were no casualties on the ground. Wreckage was strewn over a wide area and police cordoned off the main site and another at Beach Green.

The second aircraft, a Diamond DA40, landed safely at Shoreham Airport. The two crew were shaken, but otherwise uninjured. The Air Accident Investigations Branch are now carrying out an investigation into the circumstances of the crash. The wreckage of the plane was being removed from the recreation ground today (Tuesday 5 July).

Detective Inspector Jo Banks said: "I am appealing for anyone who has film footage of the actual incident when the planes were in the air and then the crash to contact us. We have carried out a wide search for wreckage but if anyone finds any in the area they should also contact Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 quoting Operation Southbrook."

Superintendent Neil Honnor, from Sussex said: "This was a very tragic incident. It would appear that Mr Weal tried to avoid local houses and managed to crash into the open recreation ground. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

Mr Weal who was 63 lived at of Arlington Avenue, Goring, near Worthing.