- The pilot of an aircraft who died alongside three passengers
when it crashed into a field was an expert in chemical and biological weapons,
it emerged today.
- Dr Paul Norman, 52, of Salisbury, Wiltshire, was killed
when the single-engine Cessna 206 he was piloting crashed in Devon on Sunday.
- A father and daughter also died at the scene, and 44-year-old
parachute instructor and Royal Marine Major Mike Wills later died in hospital.
- Dr Norman, who was married with a 14-year-old son and
a 20-year-old daughter, was the chief scientist for chemical and biological
defence at the Ministry of Defence's laboratory at Porton Down, Wiltshire.
- He travelled the world lecturing on defending against
the scourge of weapons of mass destruction, a friend and colleague said
- Steve Eley, chief scientist for hazard reduction at Porton
Down, said: "Paul was a great deal larger than life, and has left
an enormous number of friends, all of whom have lost an irreplaceable part
of their lives."
- Dr Norman's hobbies included parachuting, flying and
looking after his small collection of old cars.
- Following study in Liverpool, the USA and Canada, he
started work at Porton Down in 1986 and became an expert in his field.
- The Cessna crashed near the village of Beacon, east Devon,
a few miles from Dunkeswell airfield, where it took off.
- The aircraft's other two passengers, 16-year-old Daniel
Greening from Kingsteignton, Devon, and a 23-year-old from Taunton, Somerset,
are still in hospital.
- Daniel's family said yesterday that he had survived thanks
to the "selfless actions" of other skydivers on board.
- He was making a tandem jump with Major Wills, based at
the Commando Training Centre, Lympstone, Devon, who was one of the world's
- The skydiving ace, from Tiverton, Devon, had 5,900 jumps
to his name and had held world and UK records.
- The flight was organised by the Devon and Somerset Parachute
School, which has temporarily suspended its operations.
- The crash site was examined by officials from the Air
Accidents Investigation Branch.
- The wreckage of the aircraft was removed from the site
to the AAIB base at Farnborough.
- Retired police officer Eric Franklin, 66, from Beacon,
has described seeing the aircraft flying low over his farmhouse and hearing
the engine "cutting out and spluttering" before the crash.