Wiltshire

Widow of Wiltshire plane crash victim mourns her 'captain'

Paul Gunnell joined the RAF in 1982 and flew Harrier jump jets before joining Cathay Pacific Image copyright Wiltshire Police
Image caption Paul Gunnell joined the RAF in 1982 and flew Harrier jump jets before joining Cathay Pacific

The wife of one of two men killed when a light aircraft crashed in a field has spoken about how much she misses her "captain".

Paul Gunnell died when the plane he was in crashed last Thursday in Brimslade, near Marlborough, Wiltshire.

The 57-year-old from Guernsey was a former RAF pilot who then spent 23 years with the airline Cathay Pacific.

Kirsty Boazman said his death had "ripped a hole in my heart and existence".

"In the early evening of Thursday 13 July, my precious and outrageously talented husband, Paul Gunnell (PG to most), died in a light aircraft accident just outside Marlborough," she said in a statement released by Wiltshire Police.

"This cruel and unexpected departure has ripped a hole in my heart and existence.

"He died while doing what he loved most but it was not time to leave this life. We had much planned.

"I dearly love and so terribly miss my 'captain'."

Image caption The crash happened at about 18:30 BST last Thursday in Brimslade near Marlborough

The identity of the second man killed in the crash has not yet been released. Formal identification of both men has not yet taken place.

Mr Gunnell joined the RAF in 1982 and flew Harrier jump jets before becoming deputy chief pilot of Cathay Pacific's Airbus fleet.

'True friend'

He had "squandered" a scholarship to Oxford University, according to friend Rick Offord, but graduated from Leicester and then gained another first class degree in law while with the airline.

"Clever and talented but, first and foremost, a gifted aviator and true friend," Mr Offord said.

"'Legend' is used too often in aviation but if anyone deserves that status it is PG."

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has launched an investigation, but Ms Boazman said "whatever occurred happened quickly".

"Paul was not alone and our thoughts are equally with the other family who have also lost a loved one, who shared Paul's sheer joy of being in the air," she said.

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