Jewish composer killed in plane crash was ‘inexperienced’ pilot

An inquest has found that Jonathan Goldstein did not have the training necessary to fly across the Alps


A composer, his musician wife and their six month old baby who were killed when their light aircraft crashed into the Alps and burst into flames, died because the pilot was inexperienced flying in mountain conditions.

Jonathan Goldstein, 50, was piloting the single-engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee Arrow when it hit the northwest flank of the Hübschhorn mountain in Switzerland on 25 August 2019.

Assistant Coroner David Manknell found that the family were tragically killed due to the lack of training and experience of the pilot.

Mr Goldstein had flown just once over the Alps prior to the crash, the inquest was told.

Mr Manknell said: "He had limited experience in mountain flying and never received any adequate training.

Mr Goldstein, his wife Hannah, 36, and baby Saskia had taken off from the North Weald Airfield in Essex the day before.

The couple landed in Troyes, France before making a second stop in Lausanne, Switzerland ahead of their next flight to Perugia in Italy.

Mr Goldstein was an award-winning music producer and ran a company specialising in making music for TV adverts, as well as composing for screen and stage himself.

Ms Goldstein was a saxophonist, who had performed at high-profile concert venues including the Royal Albert Hall and often appeared on BBC Proms.

Mr Goldstein, who obtained his PPL (A) pilot licence in January 2012, had flown for a total of 365 hours by 4 August 2019, Inner London South Coroner"s Court heard.

He had crossed the English Channel for the first time on 14 April 2017 and prior to the accident, he had flown over the Alps just once.

Mr Goldstein took off from Lausanne at 9.43am and was flying at an altitude of 4,100 feet, travelling at 120 knots.

At 10:23am, he turned right, towards the Simplon Pass, and two minutes later witnesses saw the plane hit the north face of the Hubschorn mountain.

The aircraft impacted with the terrain at an almost flat altitude and the plane burst into flames.

Mr Goldstein was flying 2200 feet below the recommended height through the Alps, with an investigation unable to determine why.

It was a clear, sunny day, visibility was 70km or more, with a wind of eight knots, the court was told.

Ms Goldstein’s father Leszek Marcinowicz read a moving poem about his daughter and told the inquest: ”Hannah was born in London on 15 May 1983.

"She was a delightful blond baby and a happy, smiley toddler.

Hannah was a bossy little girl and fiercely protective of her brother Adam.

"She was a very bright child and musical from an early age.

"Music was Hannah’s all encompassing passion.

"She was always keen to keep learning and keep practicing her technique.

"First and foremost, Hannah was a performer.

"She poured so much energy into everything she did, even her teaching.

"There have been many highs in Hannah’s performing life, performing at the Proms in 2005, and another highlight was the concert she played at King’s Place, London in 2017.

"Hannah certainly had to kiss a lot of frogs before she met her prince charming, Jonathan.

"They met at a recording studio and they collaborated on projects.

"It had taken both Hannah and Jonathan a lot of time to find each other."

Mr Marcinowicz added: "Although Hannah’s main passion was music, she was also a good tennis player and always enjoyed a glass of rosé in the club house after.

"Her wonderful giggle stayed in mind, as did the fact she never took no for an answer.

"If a restaurant said they were fully booked, she would always say: "Are you sure you cannot squeeze us in?’ and they inevitably did.

"She was so full of energy and happiness, such a genuine pleasure to be around.

"It is no surprise that Saskia was such a happy baby.

"Hannah was a calm mother.

"She was ever the optimist, faced with a dull, grey day, she would wear colour, "much more fun,’ she said.

"For Hannah’s 30th birthday, I entered her into a sprint triathlon without telling her.

"She completed the event with a big smile on her face, raising a substantial amount of money for Rich’s treatment in the process.

"We are so proud of Hannah and all she has achieved, both musically and personally, we admired her never give up attitude.

"She and Jonathan were only together for a short time before tragedy struck.

"Hannah and Jonathan were such a great partnership.

"On 2 February 2019, they received the most precious gift possible, a beautiful baby girl – Saskia.

"She was a delightful baby, full of smiles and she went everywhere with them.

"Hannah was a brilliant mum to Saskia and loved sharing new experiences with her every day.

"The tragedy truly cut short three lives that had so much to offer the world.

"Her premature death has robbed audiences all around the world of a wonderful performer.

"Hannah’s family, friends, professional colleagues and the classical music world have lost a wonderfully talented and beautiful human being.

“Our lives have changed forever and I would like people to bear this in mind.’

Mr Goldstein assisted on the soundtrack for Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear, as well as re-recordings of famous soundtracks such as the score to the director’s classic movie Taxi Driver.

As the founder of the Goldstein Music Group he worked on music for high profile advertising campaigns featuring dozens of international brands, including American Express, Lexus and Sony.

Ms Goldstein, who performed under her maiden name of Hannah Marcinowicz, played with some of the UK’s leading orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Following the loss of three lives, Mr Manknell said he would write a recommendation to the Civil Aviation Authority that those with PPL (A) pilot licences should take necessary training to fly over mountains.

He added: "It is my opinion that I do have a concern that future deaths could occur and that actions should be taken to prevent future deaths.

“The training that Jonathan had was not appropriate for mountain flying.

"It seems to me that is certainly possible to be replicable.

“I therefore do make a recommendation, which I make to the CAA and I ask them to consider it.

“The recommendation will make clear that the PPL is less than is required in at least one other country.

“It is not for me how this can be remedied.”

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