Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 June 2019

Honeywell employee killed in Dubai plane crash is named

Fritz Venter was a loving husband and father who lived in Dubai

Fritz Venter was one of four men killed in a plane crash near Dubai International Airport. Courtesy: Venter Family
Fritz Venter was one of four men killed in a plane crash near Dubai International Airport. Courtesy: Venter Family

The South African passenger killed in a light aircraft crash in Dubai last week was described as an inspiration by his family.

Fritz Venter, who lived in Dubai and was an employee at US engineering company Honeywell for a decade, was one of four men on board the Diamond DA42 that came down near Mushrif Park on Thursday, May 16.

He leaves behind a wife, Jacqui, and daughter.

“We would like to thank our family, friends, and colleagues for all of their support during this difficult time,” the family said. “Words cannot describe how much Fritz is loved, nor can they describe how desperately we miss him.

“He was an inspiration and brought endless joy to those who had the privilege of meeting him. We thank God for the time we had with him and the memories that we will treasure forever.

“We ask for privacy as we try to find our way through this unbearable grieving process,” the family said.

Originally from Fouriesburg in South Africa, a small town near Bloemfontein, Venter was a project director with Honeywell Building Solutions since 2015, working in Oman.

Venter was with three British employees from UK company Flight Calibration Services last week. The company was contracted to carry out navigational maintenance at Dubai International Airport.

Former Royal Air Force wing commander David Phillips, an aviation expert, and William Blackburn, a first officer at FCSL have been named as two of the other men on board.

Phillips worked as an air traffic control examiner and was an experienced pilot, logging more than 3,000 hours of flight time.

Former colleagues from 83 Squadron Air Training Corps paid tribute to Phillips, also known as Spot, on social media.

The family of Blackburn, 26, from Douglas in Scotland, described him as a “beautiful soul”.

“He was a lovely, caring person that we were blessed with, and people who didn’t know him wished they did,” his family told BBC News.

“He was amazing and will truly be missed by us all.”

The fourth Briton to die in the crash has not yet been named.

Shoreham-based FCSL specialises in calibrating and inspecting ground-based navigation aids such as radar and instrument landing systems.

The General Civil Aviation Authority is investigating to understand what went wrong in the moments before the four-seater aircraft crashed near Dubai International Airport, just before 7.30pm.

A spokesman for Flight Calibration Services said: “We are shocked and saddened beyond words by the loss of three colleagues and a Honeywell employee in Dubai.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.

“We are working closely with the accident investigation authorities [but] as yet there is no news as to how this tragic accident happened.”

Updated: May 22, 2019 05:52 PM

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