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An elderly male pilot was flying a microlight aircraft with one middle-aged male passenger in the rear of the aircraft. When preparing to land, one wing dipped and the aircraft dived straight into the ground. The pilot was ejected and was located lying 2 m (6.5 ft) from the aircraft. The passenger was located in his seat. The cause of death for both the pilot and the passenger was from multiple injuries sustained in a light-plane accident.

Pilot: There were extensive abrasions over the body and large lacerations on the posterior part of the left and right legs. There was comminuted compound fracturing of the cranial vault with extrusion of cerebral contents. There were extensive lacerations to the face with compound fracturing of the maxilla, nasal bones, and mandible. There was blood in the left and right external auditory canals, nostrils, and mouth. In addition to the skull, there were multiple fractures involving the cervical and thoracic spine, pelvis, bilateral ribs, larynx, and bones of upper and lower limbs. There was also extensive damage to the internal viscera with lacerations to the heart, lungs, liver, and spleen.

Fig.1 Anterior view of the pilot’s head showing comminuted compound fracturing of the cranial vault with extrusion of cerebral contents.

Fig.2 Anterior view of the pilot’s head and chest.

Fig.3 Anterior view of the pilot’s body. Posterior view showing multiple abrasions over the entire body and a large laceration on the posterior part of the left and right legs.

Fig.4 VR images of the six standard views of the pilot’s skull showing extensive anterior and lateral fragmentation of the skull.

Fig.5 Anterior view of the pilot’s body. VR image of the anterior view of the pilot’s skeleton showing extensive disruption of the cranial and post-cranial skeleton.

Passenger: There were multiple abrasions over the body and a large laceration on the posterior aspect of the left thigh and the perineal region. There was blood in the left and right external auditory canals, nostrils, and mouth associated with dental damage. There were multiple, palpable rib fractures. There was a compound fracture of the left humerus and a closed fracture of the right radius and ulna.

Fig.6 Anterior view of the passenger’s head and chest.

Fig.7 Posterior lateral view of the passenger’s left thigh showing a large laceration. Lateral view of the passenger’s left arm showing a compound fracture of the humerus.

Fig.8 VR images of the passenger’s skull showing extensive fractures of frontal, nasal bones, maxilla, mandible, and zygomas; multiple fractures of left parietal and temporal bones

Fig.9 Anterior view of the passenger showing multiple abrasions over the entire body. VR image of the anterior passenger’s skeleton showing multiple fractures.

Severe injuries may be associated with the ejection of an individual from the relative protective confines of an aircraft cabin. Ejection injuries may be associated with the flailing of limbs resulting in extensive lacerations. Postmortem CT images of the passenger showed extensive fractures of the frontal and nasal bones, maxilla, mandible, and zygomas and multiple fractures of the left parietal and temporal bones, and a fracture of the right temporal bone.

The post-cranial skeleton also showed multiple bilateral fractures of the ribs, fractures of the left ilium and separation of the pubic symphyses, a comminuted fracture of the midshaft of the left femur, a compound fracture of the distal left humerus, a fracture of the midshaft of the left ulna and fractures of the midshafts of the right ulna and radius. Postmortem CT images of the pilot showed extensive anterior and lateral disruption of the skull and post-cranial skeleton. It is interesting to note the differences between the skeletal trauma seen in the passenger compared with that seen in the pilot. In this accident, these differences may relate to the fact that the pilot was ejected.

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