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German pilot dies in air show tailspin

June 15, 2019

The pilot was flying a Soviet-era aerobatic plane when it suddenly plummeted into a river. Footage of the crash shows a more than 20-second tailspin.

The wreck of a plane is recovered after it crashed into the Vistula River in Plock, central Poland, 15 June 2019. A German pilot was killed as his plane lost control and plunged into the Vistula River during a stunt performance at the Plock Air Picnic in Plock.
Image: picture-alliance/PAP/P. Augustyniak

A German pilot performing an aerobatic stunt at an air show in northwestern Poland was killed on Saturday when his plane nosedived into a river.

The former Lufthansa employee, who is thought to have been in his 60s, was flying a Russian-made Yakolev Yak-52 aerobatic plane close to the city of Plock, about 110 kilometers from Warsaw, when his aircraft suddenly went into a tailspin during a turn.

Footage from the scene showed the plane spin continuously for more than 20 seconds before plunging into the River Vistula.

Divers later found the man's body among the wreckage some eight meters under water.

The air show organizers told the Polish news agency PAP that the victim, who was alone in the two-seater plane, was an experienced pilot. It is unclear why he lost control of the plane.

Polish investigators told TVN24 they would study images and footage of the crash scene and request assistance from colleagues in Germany, if necessary, to gather more information about the victim.

The air show, which was supposed to feature displays from around 40 aircraft, was canceled after the crash.

mm/amp (AFP, DPA)

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