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Inquest opens into Shropshire farmer, 73, killed in Canada air crash

By Sue Austin | Prees | News | Published:

An inquest has been opened into the death of a Shropshire farmer whose plane crashed in Canada.

Alan Simpson

Alan Simpson, 73, from Prees, was one of two pilots in the aircraft which crashed into a mountain in the Labrador region during poor weather on May 1.

Mr Simpson ran Alan Simpson Farming Ltd, which was one of the biggest chicken farms in the country.

Shropshire coroner John Ellery opened the inquest in Mr Simpson’s death at Shirehall in Shrewsbury today.

He heard that following Mr Simpson’s death his body had been repatriated back to Whitchurch pending further investigation by Canadian authorities.

Mr Ellery adjourned the inquest until August 21.

Canadian police have said that Mr Simpson was a co-pilot on a recently purchased M350 Piper and was returning to the UK from Canada following a flight path which would take him across Iceland.

Emergency services received an alert from the aircraft's emergency transmitting beacon at 9.30am local time on May 1 and teams were deployed to a mountain near Makkovik.

One of the men was able to send text messages to rescue teams, and, despite the weather conditions, the pair were extracted several hours later. Mr Simpson was pronounced dead in a clinic in Makkovik.

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Determine

Police added that both men were pilots and an investigation was taking place to determine "who was actively piloting" at the time.

Blizzard-like conditions prevented rescue crews from accessing the crash site. A ground search and rescue team reached the pair and they were transported to hospital by snowmobile.

Major Mark Norris, from the Canadian Armed Forces Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax, and who was part of the search and rescue operation, said it was "very complex and challenging" as the plane crashed in an area "beyond remote".

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Mr Simpson's family said he would be deeply missed.

They said he had been flying for over 35 years and had been travelling from the US to the UK with another experienced pilot at the time of the crash.

They added they were eternally grateful to the search and rescue teams that helped locate the plane.

"Alan was a vibrant character who lived life to the max and will be deeply missed by the extensive group of family and friends he has left behind," his family said.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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