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Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report
"It's a Miracle," Says Coulthard

Wednesday May 3rd, 2000

British Formula One driver David Coulthard told rescue crews he "should be dead" after miraculously walking away from the wreckage of a private jet which crashed in Lyon killing two pilots.

Coulthard, his American fiancee Heidi Wichlinski and personal trainer Andy Matthews escaped with bruises when the Lear Jet in which they were travelling from England developed engine trouble, crash-landed and burst into flames on Tuesday.

British pilots David Saunders, 46, and David Worley, in his 30s, were killed instantly.

Britain's Mirror newspaper said on Wednesday that Coulthard had told emergency medical teams he thought his life was over.

"I really thought I was going to die. I have bashed ribs and Heidi and Andrew have cuts and bruises. It's a miracle - we can't believe we're alive," the newspaper quoted him as telling ambulance crews who rushed to the scene.

The newspaper also said Coulthard told his father: "One minute everything was fine, the next the pilot told us an engine had gone down."

After the jet smashed into the ground, the front section exploded. But the rear was left largely intact, giving Coulthard time to climb from the plane unaided, followed by his two companions.

"There was nothing we could have done for the pilots because the front of the plane was on fire," the Mirror quoted Coulthard as saying.

After a visit to Lyon's main Edouard Herriot hospital, Coulthard and his companions were released at 1620 GMT on Tuesday and drove to his home in Monte Carlo by car.

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