US general admits cable car crash jet was flying too low
Brigadier-General Guy Vander Linden, the senior Marines commander in Europe, sought to mend the cracks that have opened in relations between Italy and the United States by overruling earlier statements by his colleagues, who had suggested there was nothing untoward about a combat aircraft shooting beneath cable-car lines at the speed of sound.
"The point of impact is well below the approved minimum altitude," he said. He also sought to mend a disagreement with the Italian Defence Ministry about the plane's flight path. He acknowledged that the plane was not on "the centreline of the flight track" when it hit the cable car, merely within a 10-nautical-mile-wide corridor.
The general's finely-tuned words were symptomatic of the tension that has built up between the two countries since Tuesday's accident. Despite pledges of full co-operation, the two countries have fallen out on everything from the causes of the accident to their respective rights to prosecute the Prowler aircraft's pilot and crew.
Yesterday, the Americans were forced to admit they had removed the plane's flight recorder after it returned to base even though it had been impounded by the Italian judiciary. They gave the flight recorder back after an angry denunciation by the public prosecutor.
A special military team flown out from the Marine base in Cherry Point, North Carolina, is working on its own investigation and intends to press any charges that arise in the United States.
Yesterday, leaks from Aviano, the US military base where the aircraft was based, suggested that the pilot, Richard Ashby, 30, was having problems with his altimeter at the time of the impact and did not intentionally dip so low into the valley above Cavalese. The Italian lawyer representing the crew also maintained that the cable car lines were not marked on two of the three maps in the plane.
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New essay by JK Rowling went live on pottermore site this morning
Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser
Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study
Want to ward off (or welcome) trick-or-treaters? Here's how
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
Halloween 2014: From the Screaming Man of Pluckley to the 'White Lady' of the Tower of London - Britain's 20 most haunted places
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Early Years TeacherRequired: J...
£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
£95 - £105 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: KS1 ...