Coulthard Released from Hospital
Tuesday May 2nd, 2000
McLaren Formula One driver David Coulthard was released from a French hospital on Tuesday after a miraculous escape from the wreckage of a plane which crashed at Lyon airport, killing the pilot and co-pilot.
Coulthard, his fiancee Heidi Winchelski and his personal trainer Andy Matthews, escaped injury after the Lear Jet they were travelling in from England crash-landed at Lyon-Satolas airport and caught fire.
The front of the aircraft totally disintegrated but the rear was left largely intact.
The three passengers, who climbed from the plane unaided, were taken to Lyon's main hospital but later released at 1620 GMT.
Coulthard's British-based McLaren team issued a statement which quoted the driver as saying: "Obviously I am relieved that Heidi, Andy and myself are unhurt but I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the families of the two pilots.
"It is inappropriate for me to go into details of the accident but we were very lucky to walk away."
McLaren spokeswoman Anna Guerrier said they expected he would be driving at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend.
"He was taken as a precaution to hospital. He is expected to drive this weekend," she said.
Jacques Bellissen, Lyon-Satolas airport general manager, said: "For all three passengers to be unharmed, without any burns or scratches, they must have been born under a lucky star. It's a miracle.
"What saved them was that Coulthard was quick enough to leave the plane before it caught fire."
He added: "When the jet tried to land, unfortunately the pilot and co-pilot could not keep the aircraft on line. The impact was very hard and it was that which killed them."