Two hurt in microlight crash horror

TWO men were in hospital last night after their microlight plane crashed into a potato field in Suffolk.The 37-year-old pilot and his passenger, 33, were airlifted to Ipswich Hospital for emergency treatment by the East Anglian Air Ambulance when the powered microlight plunged into a field near Woodbridge.

By Richard Smith

TWO men were in hospital last night after their microlight plane crashed into a potato field in Suffolk.

The 37-year-old pilot and his passenger, 33, were airlifted to Ipswich Hospital for emergency treatment by the East Anglian Air Ambulance when the powered microlight plunged into a field near Woodbridge.

The Civil Aviation Authority was alerted and the Government's air accident investigation branch will launch an inquiry into the cause.


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Police said that the pilot, Ian Johnson, of Newbourne, was believed to have a neck injury and his passenger, Gary Ashford, of Leiston, could have a broken ankle.

The accident happened shortly before 5pm, soon after the blue and white microlight had taken off from a field in the Waldringfield area. It crashed into a field off Newbourne Road, Waldringfield, where farmer David Parken grows potatoes.

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Mr Parken, 69, of New Oak Tree Farm, Waldringfield, said: ''I was spraying potatoes two fields away at the time and I never saw the microlight come down. But I saw all this police activity and realised it had come down in my field.

''I took out some electric fencing so that the police officers could cordon off the area.''

Fire crews from Felixstowe and the headquarters in Ipswich were called to the accident to release the two men from the wreckage and they were assisted by the pump rescue tender from Princes Street, Ipswich. A Suffolk Accident Rescue Service doctor and an off-duty nurse were also in attendance.

Police officers closed the narrow road while the emergency services spent nearly an hour at the scene of the crash and they cordoned off parts of the field where the microlight and associated debris had landed.

Pc Alan Nixon, of the Suffolk police traffic unit at Martlesham, said: ''There has been a multi-agency approach to this accident and we have had the air ambulance here and a number of fire units and also the ordinary ambulance.

''The passenger was initially airlifted to hospital. The pilot was trapped in the wreckage and took some time to be released and then the air ambulance returned to take him.

''I think there were a number of people, cyclists, who were in the area and saw it come down.''

A couple from Kesgrave, who declined to be named, were the first people on the scene of the accident. They had been cycling along the country lanes when they saw the microlight in trouble.

The man said: ''The pilot had taken off from a nearby field, got caught in the wind and went into this field.

''He had been in the air for about 30 seconds. We were cycling on the road when I heard the engine stop and I thought what was going on and we went to have a look. We saw two guys trapped in it and it has taken a long time to get them out.''

A police spokeswoman said: ''The police were contacted by the fire service at about 4.55pm and attended the scene along with ambulance crews. Police have closed part of Newbourne Road while the scene is being examined and the Air Accident Investigation unit at Farnborough have been contacted and will be carrying out an investigation into the crash.''

The East Anglian Air Ambulance said the 37-year-old was trapped for 40 minutes. The ambulance took 20 minutes to fly from Watton, Norfolk, and it was a four-minute flight from Waldringfield to Ipswich Hospital.

Police officers are appealing for any witnesses to contact Suffolk police on 01473 613500.

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