Business Jet Pilot Hailed As Hero

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The pilot of a Citation that crashed in Farnborough, England last week is being hailed as a hero for steering the doomed aircraft around a hospital, apartment buildings and a playing field full of children before it clipped two houses and exploded without hurting anyone on the ground. Mike Roberts and four others on board died shortly after takeoff from Biggin Hill Airport, south of London, on a flight to France, "You died a hero, says one of the cards on a growing mound of flowers marking the accident site. "I can only thank you from the bottom of my heart as my daughter was playing on the field you avoided. Rest in peace."

Roberts declared a Mayday moments after takeoff reporting vibrations, according to news reports. The reports also claim the aircraft was low enough they could see the passengers inside. "The pilot was struggling to bank away from the houses, Jason Murrell, 39, told the Daily Mirror Looking up, I could see the terror in the passengers' eyes as they shot past. One terrified woman was staring straight at me. I'll never forget it."