A TEENAGER who died when an RAF helicopter crashed into a lake had

dreamed of a career as a jet pilot from the age of five, his mother said


Three air cadets died when the Wessex helicopter plummeted into Padarn

lake on the outskirts of Llanberis, Snowdonia, North Wales, on Thursday.

The victims -- Mark Oakden, 17, of Gisburn Drive, Bury, Amanda

Whitehead, 17, of Jesmond Drive, Bury, and Christopher Bailey, 15, of

Berne Avenue, Horwich, Greater Manchester, were on a training flight.

Mark Oakden's mother, Mrs Tina Oakden, said: ''Mark lived to fly. From

the age of five he wanted to fly aircraft, and his ambition was to

become a Tornado pilot.'' He had joined the Air Training Corps a year

ago as the first step.

Mrs Oakden, 38, a teacher, her husband, Geoff, 48, a garage

proprietor, and their daughter, Charlotte, 14, were in a state of shock

at their home yesterday.

''Mark had been at the camp at RAF Valley since Saturday. We had

signed a form allowing him to fly, and he was very excited about it,''

she said.

''He rang me on Tuesday night and he had been flying in a Hawk jet

doing aerobatics and refuelling the jets. He thought it was wonderful.''

Four cadets and three crew members were aboard the helicopter when it

went down. One cadet, Sarah Coker, 16, of Cornwall Drive, Bury, escaped

with the crew in the seconds before it sank.

Her father, college lecturer Mr Sam Coker, speaking after visiting her

in hospital, said he had not wanted her to join the Air Training Corps.

He said: ''She is in good spirits. She was shocked by the news that

her friends were missing but other than that she is putting on a brave

face. She has always been a keen air cadet. On so many occasions I tried

to stop her but she wanted to do that and she has always been flying.''

His daughter, a pupil at Holy Cross College in Bury, had been an air

cadet for four years.

Amanda Whitehead lived with her parents Stephen and Sandra. The

couple, who travelled to Wales after hearing of the accident, have three

younger children, a girl and two boys.

Sixth form college friends of Amanda Whithead's laid a wreath outside

the ATC headquarters in Hornsby Street, Bury. A posy of white roses tied

to the gate of the centre read: ''Good times, good friends, good night,

God bless.''

Neighbours of Christopher Bailey said he had set his heart on joining

the RAF. He lived with his mother, Linda, and brothers, Richard, 13, and

Andrew, 11.

A special assembly was held for him yesterday at Rivington and

Blackrod High School.

The four survivors were yesterday being treated for back and head

injuries at hospital in Bangor as attempts were being made to raise the

wreckage of the helicopter.