A suicide verdict has been recorded at the inquest into the death of a pilot whose light aircraft crashed into Bradda Head.

Financial adviser Karl Bettoney, 64, of Laxey, was an experienced and competent pilot who loved flying, the inquest heard.

He was the only one on board the single engine Cessna aircraft when it crashed on July 17.

Coroner James Brooks said there was nothing to suggest that the plane had been tampered with or that the aircraft was not under the pilot’s control when it was flown directly into the sheer cliff below Milner’s Tower.

The Cessna 210 fell into two parts on a ledge and the pilot was ejected. Death would have been instantaneous, the inquest heard.

In a statement read out by the Coroners, Mr Bettoney’s partner said the family was devastated by what had happened and described him as a caring soul who will be missed by everyone who was fortunate to have known him.

‘Flying was his passion,’ she said.

She said that her partner had made a number of phone calls to her while he was in the plane and in the last call asked her to forgive him.

Eyewitnesses told how they had watched the aircraft flying unusually low shortly before the crash.

Its flight path had remained steady and its engine noise was constant. One described a ‘pretty white plane against the blue sky’ and said there had been no clue about was about to happen before they heard a bang and seen a rising fireball.

A visitor walking up Bradda Head said they had seen the seen the plane that appeared to be heading directly towards Milner’s Tower. ‘I thought it was going to pull up at the last minute,’ he said.

An investigation by the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch concluded there had been no technical failure and no evidence that the aircraft was not under the pilot’s control.

The inquest heard that Mr Bettoney, who was born in Leicestershire and moved to the island in 2007, had been under the care of his GP and had been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and sleep issues.

The AAIB said the pilot had not declared his health problems or the drugs he had been prescribed to his Aeromedical Examiner - and if the AME been informed his medical certificate would have been suspended.

Coroner Mr Brooks said there was much that had been concerning Mr Bettoney and there was no doubt these were playing on his mind - and when he had left home on July 17 he had intended to end his own life.

He said the appropriate verdict was one of suicide and expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased.

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