Biggleswade: Pilot killed in plane crash at airshow

A PILOT has been killed today when his plane crashed in front of spectators at an airshow in Bedfordshire.

The de-Haviland DH53 Hummingbird had been in the air for only a few minutes when the pilot lost control.

The plane, one of only a handful left in the world, crashed into a field just 300 yards from the crowd at the Military Pageant Airshow, at Old Warden Aerodrome, near Biggleswade.

The aircraft

The plane, which was a a showpiece exhibit at the aerodrome which houses the Shuttleworth Collection of planes, shattered into pieces as it crashed at around 9.45am this morning.

A pathologist was expected to examine the body of the 40-year-old pilot to establish the cause of death as officials from the Air Accident Investigation Bureau began an official inquiry into the tragedy.

Emergency services rushed to the scene following the crash.

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A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said that officers were called to the airshow, attended by 600 people, after a stream of 999 calls.

Members of Bedfordshire Police along with Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service, East of England Ambulance Service and the aerodrome’s own fire service attended the incident which is being investigated by the Air Accident Investigation Branch.

They said they worked alongside the fire and rescue service, East of England Ambulance Service and the aerodrome’s own fire service to help the pilot.

The Shuttleworth Collection confirmed in a statement on its website that an aircraft had experienced difficulties and crashed.

“Emergency services and the air ambulance were called to the scene and one casualty airlifted to hospital.

“We are not releasing details of the person’s identity or the nature of the injuries incurred.

“Today’s planned air show has been cancelled to allow accident investigators to assess the scene.

“We would like to thank both on-site and external emergency crews for their prompt reaction.”

A spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said that the aircraft involved was a DH 53 vintage aircraft.

“A team of inspectors have been despatched to the site, to start an investigation which will determine the circumstances behind the accident,” he added.

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