Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 6°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Gallery and update: Investigations into light aircraft crash continue as witnesses describe seeing the aircraft “attempting a somersault” before going down

09:25 30 March 2014

Emergency services on the scene of a light aircraft crash in Essex. Photo: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Emergency services on the scene of a light aircraft crash in Essex. Photo: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Graham S Dean Photography

An investigation is continuing after a pilot and his passenger were killed when their light aircraft burst into flames as it crashed into a field in Essex.

shares

The two men were travelling in a Yak 52 plane when they got into difficulties at around 2.55pm yesterday after flying out of North Weald airfield.

Witnesses described how the training aircraft had been attempting a somersault before going down in a rural area between Ongar and Writtle, near Chelmsford.

The aircraft was “completely alight” when firefighters arrived at the scene near Cooksmill Green, Essex Fire and Rescue Service said.

A spokesman said: “On arrival the incident commander reported that the plane was completely alight.

“Crews used foam and had extinguished the fire by 3.55pm.”

Paul Aston, from the church at Cooksmill, said: “It sounded just like a road traffic accident. There was the sound of a light aircraft then this crump and then silence.

“There wasn’t a bang.

“We have lots of light aircraft fly over us, it’s nothing abnormal.”

North Weald airfield is owned by Epping Forest District Council.

Deputy Chief Executive of the council, Derek Macnab, went to the scene soon after the incident.

He said: ‘People at North Weald Airfield are shocked and dismayed following reports of an aircraft crash at Cooksmill Green earlier this afternoon.

‘Details are yet to be confirmed but our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of those involved.’

A police spokeswoman said: “Emergency services rushed to the scene and fire crews extinguished the fire caused when the plane crashed. Two men, a pilot and his passenger - both from Essex - were on board. The plane had flown out from North Weald airfield.”

Sam Gildersleeve, from Ongar, said he was having lunch with friends when he saw the plane flying low close to the A414 near Cooksmill Green.

Mr Gildersleeve told the BBC: “At this point we all looked at the sky and the plane attempted to do a somersault unsuccessfully, we heard a popping sound and noticed the plane did not re-emerge.

“We then noticed smoke coming from the site in the field where the plane had crashed. Shortly after the emergency services appeared.”

Two people were also killed when a Yak 52 aircraft from North Weald crashed in April 2011.

Instructor Simon Hulme, 33, and his 43-year-old student, Spencer Bennett, died when their plane crashed near Langford, east of Chelmsford.

An inquest in Chelmsford in 2012 heard they were on the last day of a three-day formation flying school when the aircraft spun and plummeted from 1,800ft into a lake.

The jury returned verdicts of accidental death after hearing nearly two hours of evidence.

In January 2003, Falklands veteran Anthony Hunt, 48, died along with his brother Ian, 45, when their aircraft crashed in a field on the Easton Neston estate, near Towcester, Northamptonshire, while practising aerobatic manoeuvres.

His family were awarded £270,000 damages by the High Court in 2006 after an investigation found that during maintenance a short screwdriver had become wedged into the wires that operated the rear elevators of the plane.

The Yakovlev Yak 52 is a two-seater propeller aircraft first built in the Soviet Union in the 1970s.

The former Soviet Air Force training aircraft is a popular plane for aerobatic flying around the world.

It has a top speed of 223mph and a service life of 30 years, according to www.yak.ru. It is not known how old the aircraft which crashed yesterday was.

Police said that immediate family of the deceased had been informed.

shares

0 comments

Paul Heiney filming for Secret Rivers in his Candaian-style canoe that has been stolen

Broadcaster Paul Heiney has made an appeal for thieves who stole one of his favourite boats from a Suffolk harbour to have a conscience and return it.

Trudi Nicholls of Fork Rent

With almost 30 years’ business experience in Suffolk, Trudi Nicholls comes across as a strong, confident businesswoman.

Stage 5 of the Womens Tour passes through Onehouse on their way to Bury St Edmunds last year

Schoolchildren will also be involved in an evening of activities in Bury St Edmunds ahead of the start of a major women’s cycling event.

Konrad Kantorowski flips from the wheel while coach John Colles looks on.

Heading down to the Kesgrave Sports Hall on a weeknight, you would probably be forgiven for expecting to find clubs practising regular sports. But sharing hall space with the local badminton team on a Thursday evening is a rather more unexpected gathering.

Photo issued by the National Crime Agency of fugitive Paul Monk, who featured on the UK's most wanted list on suspicion of drug trafficking, who has been captured in Alicante.

A fugitive on the UK’s most wanted list allegedly linked to a Colchester drugs haul has been arrested in Spain.

Stabbing in Farrow Close Leiston

Police are still piecing together two incidents in Leiston last night in which a 16-year-old boy and a man were both stabbed.

Abbie Hunter

As the sun blazes down to raise temperatures to the mid 20s, I am thinking about sport., says Abbie Hunter.

Cavendish.

“True democracy” is coming to a west Suffolk parish after 42 years, with villagers set to decide the Cavendish ward’s first ever contested St Edmundsbury Borough election.

Police are searching for Jai Stead

Police are searching for a man wanted on suspicion of robbery and failing to appear in court.

Paul Rous, of Bruisyard Hall, has launched a tech startup venture with Mark Pearson

A Suffolk entrepreneur has teamed up with a top technology investor, who made millions from a website he created with just £300, to help finance new ideas.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages