Coulthard plays down hero role

David Coulthard risked his own life to try and rescue his pilots from the blazing wreckage of his Lear jet

Coulthard plays down hero role

The McLaren driver has played down his own heroic role in the tragic events of last Tuesday.

But his manager and close friend Ian Cunningham has revealed the Scot and his two passengers, fiancee Heidi Wichlinski and physio Andrew Matthews had a lucky escape.

After the blazing aircraft came to a halt flames coursed around the outside of the skin of the aircraft, but didn't spread inside for a precious few minutes.

That gave the duo time to help Wichlinski to safety through the gaping hole at the front, but once she was clear Coulthard returned to the flaming wreckage despite the threat of a second fuel explosion to search for British pilots David Saunders and Dan Worley.

The cockpit had been torn off the front of the £4m jet.

"David told me there was a trail of fire on the runway and right across the grass behind the aircraft," said Cunningham.

"There was fire everywhere.

"The plane was alight around the outside and it was just amazing that the inside didn't catch light as well.

"The plane was on fire and there was a lot of fuel around and David was surprised the whole thing didn't go up."

"They opened the rear exit but couldn't get out the back because of the flames so they had to go out of the front.

"When they were clear David went back to see if he could rescue the pilots, but there wasn't any sign of them."

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