Prince William’s former flying instructor, James Hassell, has been killed in a motorbike crash, making him the second of William’s army mentors to be killed in tragic circumstances after 32-year-old Major Alexis Roberts died in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2007.
The death of William’s army colleague is bound to do little to reassure William’s father, Prince Charles, who has previously expressed his unease with his sons riding motorbikes. William rides a Ducati which is currently being repaired after rats chewed through cables.
The Daily Mail is reporting that the Duke of Cambridge yesterday extended his ‘deepest sympathy’ to the grieving family of Mr Hassell, 36, a Warrant Officer Class 1 and Lynx helicopter pilot who was selected to teach the prince on a fast-track flying course four years ago.
Fellow pilot Matt Webb said that Hassell, who was killed in a head-on collision with a truck last month, managed to keep his cool when jokers tried to disrupt his tutoring of the prince.
He said: “He had carefully prepared a day’s presentation for the prince when one of his friends wiped it from his computer as a practical joke—but he still managed to deliver the mission orders perfectly from memory. His goalkeeping skills earned him the nickname ‘Safe Hands’—a name which followed him into his flying career as he was a consummate professional.”
Sixty years and hardly a slip.