Pilot and companion badly injured as light aircraft crashes into houses

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Two badly burned men, one aged 21, the other in his late fifties, have been taken to hospital after their light aircraft crashed into two houses. Emergency services were called to the scene in Newlands Avenue, Salford, just after 12.20pm yesterday.

Witnesses described the scene as like something from a disaster movie. Mark Frimston, 25, a forklift truck driver who lives in a block of flats nearby, said: "I heard a bang, like a gas explosion. It was as if a bomb went off – my baby started crying because it scared him. We could hear screaming, women screaming initially and then a man screaming in terror. I panicked and ran downstairs. When I got outside I could see people running about and then when I got out of the front door there was loads of smoke in the air, you could taste it in your mouth.

"When I ran around the corner I could see the plane embedded into the side of a house. People were running to help and kicked the gate down to get into the garden where the plane had come down. I think they used a garden hose on the fire."

A spokeswoman for North West Ambulance Service said: "There were two people on board. A man in his late fifties had 70 per cent burns and a man aged 21 had 60 per cent burns. Both were taken by the air ambulance to Wythenshawe Hospital."

Speaking at the scene, Greater Manchester Fire Service station commander Paul Duggan said an occupant of one of the houses rushed to help the stricken pilot and his passenger.

He said: "The light aircraft had crashed into two semi-detached houses. The plane had also caught fire so a number of people, including an occupant of the property, two passers-by and a passing police officer, tried to fight the fire by putting water on it."

"One occupant of the plane was removed quite quickly but the second had to be cut from the wreckage."

No one else was hurt in the incident.

The crash site is close to Barton Airfield at City Airport Manchester, but it was unclear last night if the plane had just taken off or was returning to land. A witness said microlights often flew low over the houses.