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'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

Police at a field in Belchamp Walter in the wake of the fatal accident Picture: PAUL GEATER

Police at a field in Belchamp Walter in the wake of the fatal accident Picture: PAUL GEATER

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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.

A man in his 50s died after a light aircraft came down in a field in Belchamp Walter Picture: JOE GIDDENS/PA WIREA man in his 50s died after a light aircraft came down in a field in Belchamp Walter Picture: JOE GIDDENS/PA WIRE

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.

MORE: Pilot dies in light aircraft crash

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.

Accident investigators working in a field at Belchamp Walter. Picture: PAUL GEATERAccident investigators working in a field at Belchamp Walter. Picture: PAUL GEATER

“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.”

Police at Belchamp Walter, which is close to Sudbury on the Suffolk/Essex border Picture: PAUL GEATERPolice at Belchamp Walter, which is close to Sudbury on the Suffolk/Essex border Picture: PAUL GEATER

MORE: Community left shocked as a pilot dies in aircraft crash

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.”

MORE: Community pulls together in wake of plane crash

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