The tangled remains of the AFM Bulldog aircraft that crashed in Gozo on Sunday evening were yesterday brought over to Malta and taken to the AFM's Safi Barracks where it will be thoroughly inspected.

The Bulldog, a small semi-aerobatic plane used for coastal patrol, surveillance and training, crashed close to Dwejra with Warrant Officer Mark Brincat, the pilot, and Lance Bombardier Kevin Borg, the flight technician, being lucky to survive with very minor injuries.

A helicopter of the Italian Military Mission yesterday lifted the wreck and took it close to the road from where a crane then lifted it onto a truck.

The operation took place at about 2 p.m. It was decided not to airlift the aircraft to Malta as it was feared that parts of it could fall off during the flight. The aircraft was seen flying at a rather low altitude close to Dwejra on Sunday, while it was conducting the evening patrol. It then turned, appeared to stall and crashed at Santu Pietru, a tract of land between Dwejra and San Dimitri.

The plane's right wing hit the ground and the plane cartwheeled, hitting its nose, then its left wing and finally flipped over, hitting its tail before coming to rest upside down. On impact, the cockpit slid open. The engine got dislodged and lay by the side of the aircraft.

The plane came to rest very close to the place of its first impact.

The crew were helped out of the aircraft by dazed onlookers and were transferred by an AFM helicopter to hospital.

However, the pilot only needed two stitches to his nose and the flight technician a butterfly stitch on his face. Both suffered bruising, mostly due to the seat belts.

An AFM and a magisterial inquiry are under way.


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