Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 11°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

A sign of things to come? Not quite!

After Scottish and Welsh devolution, the government has turned its attention to how to transfer more powers to local people in England.

Saxmundham Station - which is due to get new information screens.

Rail operator Abellio is spending an extra £4 million to improve stations and trains across the region.

The Orwell Bridge in Suffolk

Police have recovered the body of a man believed to have fallen from the Orwell Bridge near Ipswich.

Adam Nichols on BBC Crimewatch after his assault where he was stripped naked, tasered and beaten by a gang of masked men.

A £3,000 reward is being offered in return for information about a “horrifying” assault in which a former Ipswich and Colchester footballer was stripped, Tasered and beaten by a gang of masked men in Essex.

Suffolk County Council's base at Endeavour House

The summer holidays are traditionally a quiet time of the year for politicians, but this year councillors and officials are finding their thoughts dominated by the prospect of getting devolved powers.

Tim Leat Town Hall Show and Events Supervisor, Ipswich Market manager Kevin Walker, Flower Stall Owner Lynn Rawlings and Town Hall Duty Manager Simon Parr helped a woman who fell on the town hall steps.

Heroic market traders and Town Hall staff in Ipswich have been hailed for their efforts in helping a woman who was injured after dramatically falling from the steps of the Town Hall.

Elmhurst Park Woodbridge gets Green Flag award - (l-r) Deputy Mayor and Chairman of the Amenities Committee, Councillor Lady Caroline Blois and Councillor Kay Yule

It is among the 1,582 parks across the country to receive Green Flag status, given to public open spaces that boast the highest possible standards and facilities.

Martin Richards from the Royal British Legion and researcher Aidan Crawte with a selection of the paintings that were discovered in a shed in Long Melford. See the gallery for the full set of portraits.

The work of a talented 20th century artist is to be put in the spotlight more than 80 years after her heyday, following the rediscovery of 34 significant works of art – in a garden shed in west Suffolk.

Laura Fuller with dad Colin Ely

An inspirational father who is suffering from terminal lung cancer defied his condition and braved a 200ft bungee jump to raise money for charity.

Cheryl Thayer, Chair of Macmillan Woolverstone Fundraising Commitee, Nick hulme Chief Executive of Ipswich Hospital, Mandy Jordan and Helen Glenholmes of Macmillan look around the new extension which is being built.

Fundraisers from across Suffolk were praised yesterday as it was revealed an ambitious appeal to create a new cancer centre at Ipswich Hospital had reached £300,000 in just seven months.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages