Desmond Boomer

Desmond Boomer

A 38 year old Belfast born engineer working in the Libyan oil fields

Michael Williams

Michael Williams

A 49 year old English born engineer

Matthew Aquilina

Matthew Aquilina

A 22 year old Maltese national returning to Malta

Tadeus Gorny

Tadues Gorny

A 48 year Polish national working in the Libyan oil fields

Phillip Farrugia

Philip Farrugia

A 43 year old Maltese national returning to Malta

Carmel Bartolo

CArmelo Bartolo

The pilot, a 47 year Maltese national

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  • Letter From Rodney Wood To Board Of Inquiry

    Mr. R.C. Wood,
    10 Stakesby Road,
    Whitby,
    North Yorkshire.
    YO21 1HS

    Tel: 0947 601704

    Your Ref: DCA/INVI222

    Dear Sir,

    Re: Investigation on the disappearance of Piper Lance Aircraft, registration marks 9H-ABU.

    On the flight fron Malta to Djerba on 2nd December 1995 I sat next to the pilot as I have done before on various occasions. On the ground in Malta the weather seemed okay. The pilot did his normal checks and the G.P.S. did not work. The engine was then started and I noticed a slight screech which disappeared in seconds. The pilot made no comment.

    As we taxied the pilot continuously messed with the G.P.S. and wiring. The wire from the G.P.S. was connected by jack plug right infront of me.

    We took off and after approximately 10 minutes it was obvious what our flight path was - straight into a tremendous storm. At this stage I felt we would definitely turn back.

    We flew straight into the storm, the lightening alone was frightening. For the duration of the flight we were thrown all over with lightening strikes
    all around us. There was very thick cloud and heavy rain which turned to hail storms. The screen was then packed with hail and all iced up.
    we were all very cold and the pilot looked very worried. He handed me a torch plus some paper and asked me to try and find the fault on the G.P.S. wiring. To which I said, 'I am not an aircraft engineer and would not do anything to a plane on the ground, never mind at l0,000 feet in the middle of a storm.

    The pilot was continually rubbing his brow and checking or altering things on and around the dash as I have never noticed before. Approximately 20 minutes from Djerba I could smell burning- rubber for a split second, but still nothing was said. I then noticed the volt meter and amp meters
    had gone off.

    We then landed in Djerba. On disembarking and walking around the front of the aircraft to collect our bags I noticed the alternator drive belt all shreaded. I immediately pointed this out to the pilot. He put his hand in and pulled the belt out with ease, all in bits, infront of everyone.

    At all times the weather was awful.

    We all went in to the airport and withn minutes the Mapel wanted to go. As we left the pilot was sitting with the old belt. I said, "I'll see you next time but what are you going to do about the belt?". He replied 'It will be no problem because we will wait for the storms to go so there is plenty of time'.

    What was meant by this statement was not exactly clear to me.

    It was obvious to me, being a fully skilled Rig mechanic that the plane was in no fit state to return to Malta without repairs.

    The flight from Malta to Djerba is one I will never forget as I have never experienced anything like it and would never want to ever again.

    There was no mention of Hotels and travelling the next day etc. In my opinion the pilot did not act professionally at all. If so, he would never have flown to Djerba, firstly because of the weather and secondly because of the state of the plane.

    I was never issued a ticket on these flights. A Unique Travel representative used to meet me at Malta Airport and tick my name on a manifest. We were then guided through immigration etc. by the pilot.

    This is a true statement made by me Rodney Charles Wood and dated this 24th day of October 1996.

    Rodney Wood Signature

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