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Porthcawl Mid-air collision pilots could not see each other

Katie-Jo Davies and Nikkita Marie Walters were killed alongside pilots Hylton Price and Andrew Marsh when their planes collided in mid-air over Kenfig Sands

An investigation into an air crash in which two teenagers were killed has concluded the pilots didn’t see each other in time.

Cousins Nikkita Marie Walters, 13, and Katie-Jo Davies, 14, were on RAF experience flights over Porthcawl, near Bridgend, in February 2009.

Watch Duncan Golestani’s report at ITV.com/Wales

RAF pilots Hylton Price, 63, and Andrew Marsh, 24, did not see each other in time, said the report.

The report by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) is the second into the accident which happened over Kenfig sands on the morning of 11 February, 2009.

The canopy structure on the Grob Tutor aircraft was highlighted as likely to have caused visibility problems.

The AAIB report added that in the sunshine it’s size and white colour scheme of the planes would also have made it difficult for the pilots, both experienced trainers, to see each other:

“It is likely that each aircraft was physically obscured from the other pilot’s view at various times leading up to the collision, thus opportunities to acquire [see] the other aircraft were limited to both pilots.”

The report concludes that: “Neither pilot saw the other aircraft in time to take effective avoiding action, if at all.”

The two aircraft collided at about 2,900ft (884m), with the right wing of one striking the fuselage of the other making them “uncontrollable”, said the report.

The Ministry of Defence says they are implementing a number of safety recommendations, suggested in an MoD report published in January this year, including the fitting of a collision warning system on the Tutor aircrafts.

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