Bin Laden family plane crash could be due to pilot error or brake failure, aviation experts say

The crash, which killed everyone on board, might have been the result of a miscalculated landing

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The Independent Online

Pilot error or brake failure are likely to have caused a private jet carrying three members of the Bin Laden family to crash land at an airport in Hampshire, killing everyone on board, aviation experts have said.

The Saudi-registered Phenom 300 jet was attempting to land at Blackbushe airport in Hampshire on Friday afternoon when it overshot the runway, hit a fence and crashed into a car auction site adjoining the airport, before bursting into flames.

The crash claimed the lives of Osama bin Laden’s stepmother, Rajaa Hashim, her daughter Sana bin Laden and son-in-law Zuhair Hashim. The Jordanian pilot, named yesterday as Mazen Al Doaja, also died in the explosion.

Hampshire Police and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch have launched a joint investigation into the incident. Phil Giles, a former air accident investigator, told The Independent on Sunday a brake failure would be “unusual” and the pilot might have miscalculated the landing.

“He may have misjudged it and landed too far down the runway, and then couldn’t stop it. Or he may have touched down, realised he wasn’t going to stop and put the power on to go around again. But it doesn’t look as if it was going very fast when it ended up in the car park – it’s not ploughed a furrow through millions of cars.”

Eyewitnesses said the plane’s engines were “screaming” as it approached the runway, while others said the aircraft had clipped the fence of the car auction centre before spinning around and crashing.

Aviation expert Julian Bray described the Phenom 300 as a “reliable jet”, adding that the perfect flying conditions on the day of the accident suggested pilot error was more probable.

The Bin Laden family disowned Osama in 1994 when Saudi Arabia stripped him of his citizenship because of his militant activities. Sana bin Laden has been described as a philanthropist who supported orphanages and sponsored children’s education.

In a separate incident yesterday, a pilot taking part in an aerial show at the CarFest at Oulton Park in Cheshire died when his aircraft plummeted to the ground in front of horrified spectators.

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