Five-figure payout for family of air crash teen

Nicholas Rice

Nicholas Rice

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

THE family of a 15-year-old boy killed in a plane crash in Drayton has been awarded a five-figure sum from the Ministry of Defence.

But air cadet Nicholas Rice’s mother Julia has called for confirmation that the MOD has improved the medical check-ups procedure which she said failed him.

Nicholas, from Calcot, Reading, and Abingdon pilot, Flight Lieutenant Mike Blee, were killed on June 14, 2009.

Their plane collided with a glider, but the glider’s pilot parachuted to safety.

Flt Lt Blee was assessed as fit to fly by RAF Benson doctor Douglas Wyper despite the fact he had a spinal condition, ankylosing spondylitis.

A 2012 inquest, which recorded a verdict of accidental death, heard from a medical expert that the condition meant a slight jolt could have broken his spine.

The RAF apologised in 2010, saying Mr Blee’s condition contributed to the crash but was not questioned at the time. Now, the MOD has awarded Nicholas’s family a five-figure sum in compensation, but the family want reassurance the same mistake won’t happen again.

Oxford Mail:

Julia Rice, Nicholas' mother.

Nicholas’ mother, Julia Rice, said: “Nicholas was kind and generous and was extremely well-liked. His dream was to become an aeronautical engineer with the RAF and I have no doubt that he would have succeeded.

“I agreed that Nicholas could fly in the complete understanding that the RAF knew what they were doing and would take care of him, otherwise I would never have signed any documents. My belief now is that the RAF failed my son and cost him his life.

“If I had known that my son would be flying with someone with such severe difficulties I never would have allowed it.”

Mrs Rice also said she was astounded by how difficult it had been to get details of the accident from the MOD. She said: “Nothing will ever bring Nicholas back, but hopefully now lessons will be learnt to prevent any further suffering for others.”

Mrs Rice instructed specialist armed forces lawyers at MPH Solicitors to act on her behalf.

Geraldine McCool, a partner and head of the Armed Forces Team at MPH Solicitors and Irwin Mitchell, said: “The failures in this tragic case are totally unacceptable and raise serious questions about the checks given to flying instructors.

“Julia is also disappointed in how she was treated following the accident when the MOD raised a technical argument on time limits that is untested in the courts, in order to say that the claim could not be brought.”

A Medical Practitioners Tribunal on March 25 this year found Dr Wyper’s fitness to practise was impaired, but said no further action would be taken due to the fact he had previously been suspended indefinitely.

Top News
• Our top stories:

Update: Murder investigation after man "stabbed on a boat" in Abingdon

Oxford Mail:

7:09am Monday 20th October 2014

A MAN was stabbed to death in Abingdon last night.

Severe weather warning for Oxfordshire following Hurricane Gonzalo

Oxford Mail: After the heatwave comes the thunderstorms: 'Yellow Alert' as heavy rain forecast

2:40pm Monday 20th October 2014

SEVERE weather warnings are in place for Oxford tomorrow.

On-target Alfie Potter hails dream day as Oxford United regain winning habit + VIDEO

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Monday 20th October 2014

ALFIE Potter hailed a “perfect day” as he came off the bench to score and give Oxford United a much-needed victory over Tranmere Rovers.

Man who scared off burglars with a sword from his Witney home is left feeling 'a bag of nerves'

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 20th October 2014

A BURGLARY victim who scared off his intruders while holding a sword said the incident had left him emotionally scarred.

Britain's Got Talent star Fabia and her feathered friends go burlesque for breast cancer funds in Cowley

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 20th October 2014

OXFORD’S own burlesque star Fabia Cerra hosted a special dancing class over the weekend to raise money for charity.

DIDCOT POWER STATION FIRE: 'It was a bit of an inferno' + Video

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 20th October 2014

A HUGE fire ripped through a cooling tower at Didcot Power Station last night.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree