A German pilot was killed as his Jak-52 aircraft lost control and plunged into the Vistula River during a stunt performance at the 7th Płock Air Picnic in central Poland on Saturday, a spokesman for Poland’s State Fire Brigade, Edward Mysera told PAP.
The victim was a former employee of Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline, according to the organisers.
The pilot’s body was recovered from the wreckage,” Mysera said, and added that he was declared dead by the doctor present at the site. The wreckage was located at a depth of 8 metres and was turned upside down, which made it difficult to recover the victim’s body.
Six fire rescue units from Płock and a specialist water rescue dive team from Warsaw took part in the rescue operation.
According to Tomasz Buszewski, pilot of the Cellfast Team demonstration group from the southeastern Polish town of Krosno, the German pilot was conducting a spin manoeuver and then his plane fell out of the sky and hit the water.
The show was closed after the accident. Representatives of the State Commission on Aircraft Accidents Investigation, police and prosecutors arrived at the scene to look into the possible causes of the crash.
This is the second accident during the Płock Air Picnic. In 2011, the 5th Aviation Picnic in Płock a Christen Eagle II N54CE plane crashed into the river and its pilot, Marek Szufa died at the scene.
The prosecutor’s office discontinued the investigation into that accident, determining that the direct cause of the accident was a pilot’s error. No irregularities were found when as regards flights organisation and security.
The 7th Air Picnic returned to Płock after a few years absence. It commenced on Saturday morning, stunts of around 40 machines were scheduled for the whole weekend.