Pilot death crash probe is on hold

An inquest into the death of a pilot who died in a plane crash in Africa has been delayed as an air accident investigation continues.

David Sewell, 67, of First Avenue, Dunstable, died on May 24, 2011 after a light aircraft he took out for a test flight crashed in Kaduna, Nigeria.

According to Nigerian press reports Mr Sewell and aircraft maintenance engineer Avong Bitrus both perished after the Beechcraft C90 they were testing got into difficulty, with the pilot narrowly able to manoeuvre the plane away from a university campus.

Fire officers from a nearby Nigerian airforce base were only able to reach the scene 45 minutes later due to the ‘inaccessibilty’ of the crash site.

At the time of the incident Mr Sewell was working for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, which had sold the Beechcraft C90 to an energy company.

A pre-inquest hearing into Mr Sewell’s death was held in Ampthill on Monday, during which senior coroner Tom Osborne noted that the information he had received from air accident investigators in Nigeria had been ‘non existent’.

Mr Osborne delayed a full inquest hearing until March 18, when it is hoped that more details on the accident will be made available.

He said: “I will ask the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to put pressure on them to give information.

“I think it is time to bring it (the inquest) to a conclusion, even if it is an unsatisfactory conclusion.”

Mr Sewell was previously the catering manager at Whipsnade Zoo and was also an active member of the Dunstable and District Local History Society.

He also gave his time for the Dunstable Poppy Appeal.