- 11 September, 2006
- BY: Justin Wastnage
The second stage of the Aero GP Grand Prix aerobatic flying race taking place in Malta over the weekend was cancelled following the collision of two of the aircraft involved leading to the death of Swedish aerobatics champion Gábor Varga.
Organisers cancelled yesterday's second day of racing due to an accident that took place between two aircraft as the race commenced over Marsamxetto harbour in the Maltese capital Valletta.
Aero GP has issued a statement of condolence to the family of Varga, who was killed in the first lap of the aerial race. The other pilot, Irishman Eddie Goggins, parachuted to safety and both were taken to St Luke’s hospital in the G’Mangia district. "All associated with Aero GP express their heartfelt condolences to the family of the pilot," the organisers say.
The incident occurred between Varga's Yakolev Yak-55 and Goggin's Extra 200 on the first race lap shortly after 12:00. Aero GP says due to investigation by the local authorities into the "complex circumstances regarding this tragic event, it is not yet possible to give more information as to the exact cause of the accident."
Maltese daily, the Times of Malta, reports that both aircraft were in a climbing turn when the Yak-55 lost altitude and the Extra 200 clipped its tail, slicing off the empennage. Varga's aircraft fell into the Mediterranean Sea, and Goggins baled out seconds later.
The Aero GP, which started last year in Slovenia and tours locations around the world for two-day meets, includes an air race, one-on-one dogfights and target bombing and flying duels.
Varga was in the Guinness Book of Records for performing 256 aerobatic loops in one hour and was known as the 'wild one'.