Tributes to Luton man killed in air crash

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Tributes have been paid to a Luton man killed in a light aircraft crash in Essex on Saturday.

Francis Simmonds, 46, from Luton, and Robert Bull, 40, from Hornchurch were killed when their Beechcraft King Air 200 came down in a field near Chigwell.

Mr Simmonds’ family said he was a “devoted husband and dad”, while Mr Bull was described by his family as a “very happy, fun-loving man”.

The plane was owned and operated by London Executive Aviation (LEA), which said it had just taken off from nearby Stapleford Airfield and was heading for Brize Norton in Oxfordshire when it crashed just before 10:20 BST.

The family of Mr Simmonds, the plane’s first officer, said becoming a pilot had been his boyhood dream.

“He loved every day of his job. His death leaves a gaping hole in our hearts and lives,” they added.

Essex Police is continuing to assist investigators from the Air Accidents Investigation Board.