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Wreckage to be removed today

The wreckage of the AFM Bulldog that crashed near Dwejra in Gozo on Sunday evening is expected to be removed this morning, sources said yesterday.

The wreck, including the engine, is expected to be airlifted to the AFM to be examined for possible evidence that the crash was the result of a technical fault or faults.

"It is still too early to point out technical reasons for the crash," sources said.

"Before all the necessary examinations are done, one cannot be certain. One has also to take into account what the pilot felt and did and what eyewitnesses who saw the accident had to say," the sources said.

The AFM Bulldog crashed at about 7.30 p.m. Warrant Officer Mark Brincat who was piloting the aircraft and Lance Bombardier Kevin Borg, the flight technician, were extremely fortunate in that they only suffered minor injuries.

The aircrew reported for work on Monday as the internal army inquiry went ahead. A magisterial inquiry is also underway.

Eye witnesses had 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 a bird trapping site at Santu Pietru, a tract of land between Dwejra and San Dimitri.

The plane was flying low when sudden air currents probably led to its stalling and crashing, aviation experts have told The Times.

On crashing, the aircraft cartwheeled, hitting its nose and then its left wing, and flipped, hitting its tail before coming to rest upside down.

The cartwheel led to a loss of momentum, which is what probably saved the crew's life, aviation sources said.

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