Melbourne’s deadly plane crash: Moment Aussie jets collided

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS



Footage has shown the horrific moment two military-style jets collided when a stunt they were performing over Melbourne, Australia went wrong.

The two Viper S-211 Marchetti light aircraft departed Essendon Fields Airport at about 1:24 pm on November 19 last year to film airplane stunts — or “aerobatics” — over Port Phillip Bay.

Viper 1 was the lead aircraft carrying a pilot and safety pilot, while Viper 2 had pilot Stephen Gale, 56, and camera operator James Rose, 30, on board.

Gale and Rose would not survive.

Footage has shown the horrific moment two military-style jets collided when a stunt they were performing over Melbourne went wrong.

Neither aircraft was fitted with a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder, nor were they required to — but four cameras fitted to Viper 1, three of which also recorded audio, helped investigators to determine exactly what happened when the stunt went wrong.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on Tuesday released its preliminary report into the crash, including a re-enactment and still images from footage taken by the surviving jet.

Before taking off, the pilots had talked about which stunts they would do, including one that involved Viper 1 flying upside down while Viper 2 flew right way up alongside it, filming.

The two Viper S-211 Marchetti light aircraft departed Essendon Fields Airport on November 19 last year to film airplane stunts over Port Phillip Bay.

They attempted the stunt mid-air and Gale passed beneath Viper 1 which, according to ATSB, hadn’t been planned.

He radioed in and asked to fly underneath Viper 1 again, saying it was a “better filming opportunity.”

It was on their second attempt that disaster struck.

Gale passed beneath Viper 1 once again but, as he did so, the wings of the two aircraft collided.

The pilots attempted the stunt mid-air and Gale passed beneath Viper 1 which, according to ATSB, hadn’t been planned.

His plane, Viper 2, rocketed into the air and flipped upside down, before moving into a “near vertical, nose-down flight path toward the water.”

It rolled again and hit the water at high speed.

Both Gale and Rose died in the crash.

Viper 2 had pilot Stephen Gale pass beneath Viper 1 once again but, as he did so, the wings of the two aircraft collided.

Their aircraft was later discovered on the ocean floor of Port Phillip Bay, in pieces.

The two pilots in Viper 1 said they felt the collision but did not see it.

Their aircraft was still controllable and they tried to contact Gale, but there was no response.

Gale and camera operator, James Rose, died in the crash.

Seeing splash marks on the water and debris, they made a mayday call.

The surviving pilots landed safely at Essendon Fields at 1:49 pm.

Images of the damaged wing of their jet show streaks of scraped paint and a clear indentation from where it was hit.

Gale, a highly experienced flyer, owned Jetworks Aviation, an Essendon Fields-based business created for a TV documentary called Any Fool Can Fly.

The surviving pilots landed safely at Essendon Fields.

He also held endorsements in aerobatics and spinning flight activity.

Rose was a talented drone operator who worked on high-profile TV shows, including for the Nine Network, Seven Network, and production company EndemolShine, which produces MasterChef.

A final report into the crash will be released at the end of the ATSB’s investigation.



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