‘He was a good pilot’: Family mourns pilot killed in New Bedford plane crash

Paul Vidal, 74, died Monday afternoon when the plane he was piloting crashed into a cemetery.

New Bedford fire and police work the scene of a crashed plane at Rural Cemetery in New Bedford, Mass., Monday, Nov. 4, 2019. It's not clear what caused the plane to crash and if anyone was injured. No further information was posted. (Peter Pereira/Standard Times via AP)
New Bedford fire and police work the scene of a crashed plane at Rural Cemetery. –Peter Pereira / Standard Times via AP

The 74-year-old pilot, who died Monday when the small plane he was flying crashed into a New Bedford cemetery, is being remembered by his family for his love of traveling and being in the air.

Paul Vidal had nearly 25 years of experience as a pilot, his son, Andrew Vidal, told WCVB.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash of the Cessna 150, a two-seater plane, at Rural Cemetery around 3 p.m. on Monday. Vidal took off from nearby New Bedford Regional Airport.

A retired teacher at Community College of Rhode Island, Vidal and his wife loved traveling together, their son told WCVB.

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 “Every couple of days, when it was nice weather, he liked to get out and fly around,” Andrew Vidal told the station. “He wanted to be an airline pilot when he was younger.”

The 74-year-old’s wife, Carol Vidal, told NECN her husband was in good health. The couple ran a 5K together on Sunday, she said.

“He was a good pilot,” she told the station. “I don’t know what happened.”

Witnesses reported seeing the plane flying low and appearing to perform aerial maneuvers in the moments before the crash.

Allan Duarte told The Boston Globe he was in his driveway when he heard the plane, which didn’t sound like it was in trouble, and saw the aircraft turning and flying sideways.

“The guy was doing acrobatic moves, he lost control and he hit,” Jose Abreu told Boston 25 News.

Carol Vidal told NECN she knows her husband would have never performed stunts while flying.

“My husband would never do that,” she told the station. “He said it was risky and was stupid to try and do aerobics like that, he wasn’t doing it. Something went wrong.”

She told 7News she believes her husband was doing everything he could to make sure he crashed in an area where he wouldn’t hurt anyone else.

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“I remember him saying that he would always do that if he had to come down, to not hurt anybody,” she said. “He was a good pilot.”

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