‘Pilots must be properly trained’ after composer flew his family into mountainside

Jonathan and Hannah Goldstein
Jonathan and Hannah Goldstein died after their plane crashed in the Swiss Alps and burst into flames - Central News/Web Collect/Central News

Pilots must be trained to fly over mountains, a coroner has warned after a British composer crashed into the Alps and died along with his family.

Jonathan Goldstein, 50, was flying a single-engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee Arrow when it hit the northwest flank of the Hübschhorn mountain in Switzerland on 25 August 2019. He was killed with his wife Hannah, 36, and baby daughter Saskia.

The family had taken off from the North Weald Airfield in Essex the day before.

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

Assistant coroner David Manknell said: “I do have a concern that future deaths could occur and that actions should be taken to prevent future deaths.

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

He added he would notify the Civil Aviation Authority that pilot licence training was less than that required in at least one other country.

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.

His wife was a saxophonist, who had performed at concert venues including the Royal Albert Hall and often appeared on BBC Proms.

Plane hit slope and burst into flames

Mr Goldstein, who obtained his private 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. 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.

The aircraft hit the terrain at an almost flat trejectory and the plane burst into flames.

Pilot was 2200ft below recommended height

He was flying 2200 feet below the recommended height through the Alps, and an investigation was 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.

Leszek Marcinowicz, Ms Goldstein’s father, read a poem about his daughter and told the inquest: “She was a delightful blond baby and a happy, smiley toddler.

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

“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.”

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

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.

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