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Markus, next to the light aircraft in which he suffered the accident in which he died along with his instructor. Supplied by family
Mother's desperate search for missing wallet of British-born trainee pilot who died in air crash in south of Spain
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Mother's desperate search for missing wallet of British-born trainee pilot who died in air crash in south of Spain

The young man's mother is trying to locate her son’s documentation, which he lost on the Costa del Sol the night before he died, for “sentimental reasons”

Juan Cano

Malaga

Sunday, 5 November 2023, 08:36

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Markus had just four weeks left to fulfil his dream. This November he would have completed his training period and would have obtained the commercial pilot licence for which he had saved up his entire life. By now he should have been sending CVs to airline companies. “That was the plan,” said his mother, Gracia.

But everything was cut short on the night of 10 October when the 28-year-old student Markus Kaschinski Raya and his instructor, Rafael Ricote, 24, both died after suffering an accident on a flight from Malaga to Valencia. The plane they were travelling in crashed in the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, in Almeria, with the causes still under investigation by the authorities. Only the preliminary report from the Civil Aviation investigation, which details the flight route taken, has been made available to the families of the young men.

Markus before a flight, with (inset) his ID photo.
Markus before a flight, with (inset) his ID photo. Supplied by family.

The Diamond DA20-C1 light aircraft they were flying in belonged to the Malaga One Air Diamond Flight Centre pilot school. The aircraft had initially departed from the El Trapiche airfield in Vélez-Málaga, where the academy is based, and had made a stop at El Alquián Airport, in Almeria, arriving at 8.30pm. Shortly afterwards, at 9.45pm, the plane took off from the Almeria airfield bound for Valencia on a double command training flight as part of a course to obtain the night VFR rating.

The plane flew south-east, parallel to the coast until, after making several turns, it headed two kilometres inland and crashed into a hillside, in an area that is difficult to access near San José. Now Markus’s bereaved mother, Gracia Raya, is seeking to recover her son’s wallet which he lost on the eve of his death when he went out with some friends in Malaga city.

According to Gracia Raya, her son was in the Sazón pub, in the Teatinos area of Malaga city, “although there is also the possibility that he lost it in the vicinity of the [flying] school,” which has its offices in the Malaga Nostrum shopping centre.

A Sazón waiter said: “The same day of the accident [Markus] came up to ask about his wallet and my partner told him that he had not left it there. The next day a friend came and told us what had happened to him. A terrible pity.”

Gracia told SUR that Markus’ credit cards were cancelled the night the wallet was lost but that she desperately wants to recover his identity card and driving licence for “sentimental reasons”. She said Markus, who was born in England, where his family moved for work reasons, had a passion for aeroplanes and “dreamed of being a pilot since he was a child. Our house was next to Heathrow Airport”.

When Markus was four years old, Gracia moved with her children to Puertollano, in Ciudad Real, from where she hails. Markus, whose father is German, finished secondary school and returned to England to train as a mechanical engineer at British Airways. He then went to Singapore to work for Rolls-Royce and remained there for several years.

“When the pandemic came, he said 'now or never' and came to Spain to get his pilot's licence. He just saved all his money to get it, he was very ambitious. His personal effort has been that. It was his dream”, added the heartbroken mother.

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