So when the news came of his death in a light aeroplane crash, there were three immediate hypotheses: innocent accident, stupid accident or suicide.
The flimsy aeroplane had flown into a cliff, full pelt.
Weather conditions were not a factor.
The frozen state of the controls, indicated, or appeared to indicate, that the pilot was taking the correct measures to avoid.
—He flew it like an idiot, says a nameless source. This is what happens when you get loaded rock stars coming down the airfield. Not the first time.
Show me how the joystick works, I wish to make a fool of myself.
This nameless source’s hangdog implication was that all the safety rules — well-tried, well-tested — seem to go out of the window as soon as people with money turned up on the scene. However, if MH had strolled into the aircraft hanger in denim jeans and those curiously epicene cowboy boots favoured by rock stars of a certain age, sowing handfuls of money as he went, no one else had seen it that way.
It was a trip out across the desert; he had done it previously. He was a skilled aviator, in the manner of having flown. Fliers calculate it in hours, he’d done sufficient hours to be expected to be relatively competent.
Leaving the prophet unregarded, even contradicted, by others: pilots, mechanics, administrators, all seeming to detect a vanity, even an arrogance, in his unsubstantiated claims.
And so, at first — for the first four hours, say — the available evidence as to cause divided itself perfectly.
For every argument, a counter-argument.
Unresolved, it did not reach tragedy pure or comedy pure,
So was a vehicle for the entrenchment of attitudes.
But when the burnt body of a young woman or girl, believed to be around 12 or 14 years of age, was also discovered in the wreckage, it all kicked off then.