Dorset

Witchampton biplane crash victim was ex-Royal Marine

Orlando Rogers
Image caption Mr Rogers had served as an officer in the Royal Marines for six years

A passenger who died in a Tiger Moth biplane crash in Dorset has been named as former Royal Marine Orlando Rogers.

Mr Rogers had been living in Poole but was originally from Devon, where he had links to both Newton Abbot and Torquay.

The 26-year-old died from his injuries following the crash at Witchampton, between Wimborne Minster and Blandford Forum, on Sunday afternoon.

The pilot, a local man, remains in Salisbury District Hospital. Mr Rogers' family said he was "immensely special".

'Spirit of adventure'

They added that he had died as he lived, "in action".

Mr Rogers served as an officer with the Royal Marines for six years and had been deployed in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

After leaving he started up a maritime security business, employing many of his former comrades.

In a statement, his mother Julia, sister Jade and girlfriend Kathryn said he was "always full of fun and the spirit of adventure".

"His unique charisma, positive outlook and enthusiasm for life touched and inspired all those around him.

"His example on living life to the fullest will never dissipate; whether it was rowing the Atlantic, racing Zap Cats, sky-diving or skiing.

"He was always cheerful, full of fun and had the spirit of adventure."

The plane, which was being flown by a friend of Mr Rogers, crashed at about 1500 BST. An eyewitness described seeing the plane "doing aerobatics" shortly before it came down.

The former marine was airlifted to Dorset County Hospital where he died that evening, with his mother by his side.

The 1930s plane had taken off from Compton Abbas Airfield, near Shaftesbury, before coming down 980ft (300m) away from Rowbarrow Lane, Witchampton.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch has begun an investigation.

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