Widow Wins Record Payout From the MOD
The family of a banker who died when the plane he was piloting crashed at RAF St Mawgan, near Newquay in Cornwall, has won a £5m damages settlement from the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
In June 2001, Hugh Paton was piloting a Cessna light aircraft, taking his wife and two daughters from Hertfordshire to Cornwall, intending to treat the family to lunch at a restaurant in Padstow. He was given clearance to land at St Mawgan and was about to touch down when an RAF Sea King helicopter, which had just taken off, made as if to cross the runway directly in the Cessna’s path. Mr Paton took immediate action to avoid an emergency but lost stability of his aircraft when it passed through a wake vortex from the helicopter’s powerful rotor blades. The light aircraft crashed at the edge of the runway.
The plane's fuel line ruptured on impact. Mr Paton managed to free his wife and daughters but died nine days later as a result of burns he had suffered over more than 70 per cent of his body.
Mrs Paton was sure that her husband’s death was not his fault and fought long and hard for a settlement. The MOD denied liability for the accident but reached an out of court settlement just days before the case was due to be heard in the High Court.
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