Update: Pilots escape serious injuries after two gliders crash mid-air over Newmarket

TWO pilots have escaped without serious injuries after a mid-air crash in west Suffolk.

Emergency services were scrambled to Newmarket yesterday afternoon after an eyewitness saw a man parachute from the falling wreckage of a glider.

One pilot deployed his parachute and safely made it to earth while the other ejected from his aircraft after the impact.

Friends Josh Logan, James Goodchild, Daniel Owen and Robert Green, all aged 17 and from Newmarket, saw the gliders come down from a nearby park.

Newmarket College student Mr Logan said: “We were watching the gliders flying around. There must have been 20-30 of them.

“One of them suddenly headed straight down and looked like it was nosediving. You could see the pilot trying to pull up but it split in two and he ejected.”

Mr Goodchild, who is studying at Long Road College in Cambridge, added: “After he nosedived we thought he’d recovered but he obviously hadn’t.

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“After he ejected it looked like a bit of the wreckage hit his parachute.”

The group rushed over to where the men had landed to see if they could help but emergency services were already arriving.

Police, paramedics, the air ambulance and firefighters all attended the crash scene just before 4pm.

Both male pilots were found about 30 minutes later in a field on the east side of Newmarket gallops, close to the A1304 and the July Racecourse.

One had sustained head injuries and the other was uninjured in the crash.

An ambulance spokeswoman said: “One sustained no injuries and the other was initially unconscious but regained consciousness and did not suffer any traumatic injuries.

“That patient was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital by land ambulance.” The gliders were taking part in the third day of the 2012 British Club Class Gliding National Championships held by Cambridge Gliding Centre.

The pilots, who are not believed to be from the local area, started from the club’s base at Gransden Lodge Airfield in Bedfordshire at 1.40pm.

Spokesman Richard Brickwood said the two pilots, who were competing in the competition, crashed during the race that involved around 50 competitors.

He added: “Two race gliders were involved in a mid-air collision near Newmarket.

“The Air Accident Investigation Branch, the police and the British Gliding Association have all been informed.

“One pilot landed safely and the other required medical attention.”

One of the aircraft was found in dense woodland by the side of the A1304.

n Did you witness the collision? Call newsdesk on 01473 324736 or e-mail news@eadt.co.uk

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