'The plane nose dived when the engine cut out' – First eyewitness describes tragic light aircraft crash
PUBLISHED: 13:27 04 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:45 05 February 2019
The moments leading up to a tragic light aircraft crash which resulted in the death of the pilot have been described for the first time by a dog walker.
The crash happened at Belchamp Walter, near Sudbury, on the Essex-Suffolk border yesterday and the pilot, a man aged in his 50s, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Essex Police said it was called to reports of light aircraft in distress just before 11.50am and eight fire engines from Essex and Suffolk went to the scene.
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Gary Seymour, from Pentlow, was out walking his dog when he heard the aircraft overhead.
“He was coming in from the east and was very low when I saw him,” he said. “I could hear the engine struggling as he went overhead but it then cut out.
“I thought he had a passenger with him and that he was playing a prank on him but the plane lost altitude when the engine turned off.
“The plane nose dived when the engine cut out. But it went behind a hedge so I didn’t see it hit the ground.
“I carried on with my walk but heard sirens. I thought that it was a car crash because it was quite icy.
“I went home thinking he would have landed but my partner told me about the crash and I knew it was him.”
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Essex Fire and Rescue Service reported that the aircraft, which landed in an arable field, was alight when its crews arrived at the scene.
The crash site is about five miles from Ridgewell Airfield, but it is not yet known where the flight took off from or what its final destination was.
Jane Walker, chairman of Belchamp Walter Parish Council, said: “It is really out of the usual and I think it took a lot of people out of the blue.
“Our feelings go out to the poor man who has died and his family. Our condolences are with them.”