Five killed in light plane crash

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The Independent Online

Five people have died after a mid-air collision between two light aircraft in Warwickshire.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to a location near Coombe Abbey, at Brinklow, at 11.42 this morning.

One aircraft came down close to Coventry Road, between Brinklow and Coventry. The second came down in Brandon Woods. Four people were confirmed dead at the scene.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service said the incident had happened opposite Coombe Abbey, a Grade I listed luxury hotel.

A receptionist there said she was unsure where exactly the aircraft had landed, but added that it was not within the hotel's grounds.

West Midlands Fire Service said it had sent an appliance to help out, but confirmed that its Warwickshire neighbours were leading the fire service operation.

Warwickshire Police were unavailable for comment.

Coventry Airport is reported to have closed because of crash. Coventry Road, which runs alongside Coombe, was shut off to traffic this afternoon.

No wreckage was visible from the surrounding roads but a police helicopter was hovering above the area.

Fire crews and police could be seen on the closed section of the road.

The bodies of the victims are believed to be still in the wreckage.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service later revealed that one of the planes involved was a Cessna 407, which is slightly larger than a light aircraft.

It was carrying four people, including the pilot, and all have been confirmed dead.

The light aircraft, which smashed into pieces mid-air, was carrying just the pilot, who was also confirmed dead.

Warwickshire Police, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch are jointly investigating the collision.

A police statement said: "The collision occurred near to Coombe Abbey Country Park at about 11.30am on Sunday August 17.

"It involved a Cessna 407 and a light aircraft, which are believed to have collided mid-air.

"There are two sites where debris from the aircrafts has landed which stretches across several miles."

Any witnesses to the collision are asked to contact Warwickshire Police on 01926 415000

Speaking at the scene, Mick Leach, group manager for Rugby Fire Station, said: "When I arrived here there was a lot of bystanders indicating that a collision had occurred.

"A search took place and we did locate two scenes of wreckage, one towards Coventry and one in Brandon Wood, approximately one mile apart.

"There are five confirmed fatalities. All persons have now been accounted for, one in a single engine aircraft which came down just towards the Coventry side of the hotel and there are four confirmed fatalities relating to the twin engine Cessna, which came down in Brandon Wood.

"As far as I am aware the single engine aircraft disintegrated pretty much in mid air.

"Debris is spread over a wide area.

"We are now gathering resources so we can move into the new phase of the operation."

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service will be working with the West Midlands Urban Search and Rescue Team to remove the bodies, he said.