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AFM aircraft crash lands in Gozo

The wreckage of the Bulldog TMk1 in an uncultivated field at Santu Pietru overlooking the Azure Window in Dwejra, Gozo yesterday. Photo: Franco Galea.

The wreckage of the Bulldog TMk1 in an uncultivated field at Santu Pietru overlooking the Azure Window in Dwejra, Gozo yesterday. Photo: Franco Galea.

An Armed Forces of Malta Bulldog crash landed near Dwejra in Gozo yesterday at about 7.30 p.m.

The two crew members suffered slight injuries and were airlifted by an AFM Aloutte helicopter to St Luke's Hospital to be treated for shock.

The single-engined Bulldog TMk1, tail number AS0020 which was on a coastal patrol, was extensively damaged, the army said.

An AFM emergency team was deployed to the site of the incident by helicopter. AFM Commander Brigadier Carmel Vassallo was on site soon after the incident.

The crew members are Warrant Officer 2 Mark Brincat who was piloting the Bulldog and Lance Bombardier Kevin Borg who was the flight technician.

An eye witness told The Times that the aircraft was seen climbing close to the Azure Window at Dwejra when it suddenly seemed to stall and ended up in an uncultivated field in a spot called Santu Pietru which lies between Dwejra and San Dimitri.

"I heard a loud metallic sound and then all I could see was a cloud of dust rising out of the field where the aircraft landed.

"The aircraft flipped over with the engine jutting out of it and one wheel torn off," he said.

The incident, the army said is the subject of a magisterial inquiry as well as an internal technical inquiry by the AFM.

No information was available as to the cause of the incident, the army added.

The army has five of this type of aircraft as part of its fleet.

These aircraft which were acquired from the Royal Air Force by the army in 2000 cannot cover long distances because of their single engine.

The largest customer for the Bulldog which was built by Scottish Aviation was the RAF, which placed an order for 130 Bulldogs in 1972.

The Bulldog was used extensively by the RAF as a basic trainer.

The AFM uses the aircraft as a trainer and for surveillance.

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