A BRITISH pilot has been killed in a head-on motorcycle crash in the US.
Virgin Atlantic captain Jason Shergold, 48, died in the early morning smash with a car on Friday near the city of Needles, in California.
Initial police reports of the accident claim a maroon Toyota Camry had been trying to pass another vehicle when it hit his motorbike.
Captain Shergold, an ex-British Airways engineer, from Storrington, West Sussex, had been with Virgin for almost 20 years but been a pilot for over 30.
A spokesman for Virgin Atlantic said: “We’re devastated to confirm that one of our pilots sadly passed away whilst overseas.
“Our deepest sympathies are with his family at this exceptionally difficult time and we call upon everyone to respect their privacy.”
He had been motorbiking on US Route 95, which runs up and down the western side of America, when the head-on collision happened just before 7am on Friday.
A spokesman for the San Bernardino coroner, Sheriff John McMahon, in California, confirmed that the pilot had died at the scene.
They said: “Ambulance personnel arrived on scene and declared the rider motorcycle, Jason Shergold, a 48-year-old citizen of England, dead at 6.59am.”
Thanks for keeping us safe in the skies
Nearly two years ago, Captain Shergold flew a special route from Heathrow to Miami so his passengers could see the solar eclipse from the air.
At the time, he said: “I’ve been flying for 31 years, and seen some incredible sights from the flight – but watching a total solar eclipse at 35,00ft was one of the most amazing experiences any pilot could have.
“It was a real honour to captain this special eclipse flight and shared the experience with our customers on our way to Miami.”
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The California Highway Patrol is still investigating the reasons for the accident yesterday and no arrests have been made.
Tributes were paid to the popular pilot last night.
One mourner said on Twitter: “Heartbreaking…Captain Jason Shergold thank you for keeping us safe in the skies.”
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