Death crash pilot was texting on mobile

A crop-duster pilot who crashed into trees and died was distracted by texting and making calls on his mobile phone.

Andrew Wilde, 38, had made 14 calls during the flight and had been text-messaging a woman friend when the accident happened on New Zealand’s North Island.

Several months before the November 2007 crash, Mr Wilde had another accident - hitting a sheep during takeoff – and was warned by his employer not to talk on the phone while flying low.

“He had pledged to stop the practice, but not done so,” an accident report said.

The use of mobile phones by agricultural pilots flying at low altitudes was not uncommon, it said.

Investigators recommended that New Zealand’s Director of Civil Aviation consider some controls on pilot mobile phone use.

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