Lakenheath/Spalding: Mother praises Lakenheath pilot for ensuring crash avoided school

Police closed the road at Weston Hillls in Lincolnshire yesterday close to where a US Air Force F15

Police closed the road at Weston Hillls in Lincolnshire yesterday close to where a US Air Force F15 crashed. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

A mother has called the pilot of the US jet which came down yesterday near a school in Lincolnshire a “hero”.

Theresa Geeson, from Weston Hills, said the pilot, from US air base RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, ensured the crashing plane was clear of people below.

She said: “I had just picked up my daughter Abigail from school, we were half way home when I heard a noise.

“I saw a plane and thought it was doing aerobatics because it was spinning but soon realised it was coming down really slowly.

“It disappeared behind the line of houses and then I saw the smoke.

“I think the pilot is a hero for making sure that everyone was safe before worrying about himself and ejecting, people on Facebook say the plane was heading towards a school.”

The pilot ejected safely and was picked up by a UK military helicopter which transported him back to RAF Lakenheath.

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Eric Bartrum, a retired carpenter, said the plane crashed about a quarter of a mile from the back of his home.

He said: “It was too close for comfort, it’s a day I won’t forget for a long time.”

Helen Milano, a carer, said: “I heard a loud bang and all of a sudden I heard a plane accelerating loudly, the next thing I knew there were emergency services everywhere.

“You don’t experience this sort of thing every day, it’s frightening.”

All residents have been able to return to their homes, although people have been advised to keep their windows closed as a precautionary measure.

Today a cordon remains in place around the scene as investigations continue into the cause of the crash.

Community Inspector Jim Tyner said: “Neighbourhood officers are visiting Weston Hills Primary School this morning to speak to staff and pupils as yesterday’s events were clearly a traumatic time for them. Bobby Bear is coming along to give certificates of bravery to the children.”

Speaking last night, Jane Fitzgerald, headteacher of Weston Hills Primary School, said: “The school is absolutely fine. Nobody is injured and no property has been damaged.”