CarFest plane crash: Pilot dies during display at Chris Evans' event at Oulton Park race track

Cheshire Police said the plane crashed in a wooded area off the festival site

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The Independent Online

A pilot has died after a plane that was part of a display team crashed during a motoring event in Cheshire.

Television and radio presenter Chris Evans, the founder of Carfest, confirmed that the pilot had died, with the Heritage Aircraft Trust later naming him as Kevin Whyman.

Speaking at a press conference, he said: "Just after 2pm, there was a tragic accident - the result of which was one of the pilots involved in a synchro display lost his life.

"Our condolences go out to his family who have been informed. The event will continue on the advice of the three aviation authorities we are currently involved with as part of the ongoing investigation into what happened."

Chris Evans told a press conference that the pilot had been killed

"The police have also advised us that the best thing, and the safest thing to do, is to carry on with the event - bearing in mind there are 10,000 children here. That's what we're going to do."

Police confirmed they were attending an incident at CarFest in Cheshire's Oulton Park Circuit this afternoon.

The plane that crashed was from the Gnat Display Team owned by the Heritage Aircraft Trust.

Photos on Twitter showed shocked spectators watching as plumes of black smoke rose into the sky.

The festival's organisers have said the event is continuing.

One witness described an "eerie silence" descending after the crash, saying it was "horrible to witness".

It is not yet known whether the pilot had managed to eject before the plane crashed.

Two air ambulances attended the scene, and both later took off and left.

Mark Dowling, a journalist at the Chester Chronicle saw the crash.

"There were two aircraft in the sky doing a dual display," he told the Manchester Evening News.

"I thought one of them appeared to be a bit low. It was upside down when I saw it go behind some trees, then suddenly there was a huge smoke cloud and flames."

Adam Ignatowicz is attending the event, and told the BBC that one of the planes "seemed to do a dive" over the car park. Then, he said, "there was a bang".

Another attendee, Neil Macew, told Sky News: "Coming towards the end of it, they were doing some spirals - one seemed to lose control and crashed just beyond the north of the circuit.

Spectators had been watching the air stunt show moments before. Photo: Andy Carter

"Big, black plumes of smoke have gone up behind the trees and all the emergency vehicles from the circuit have raced up towards it.

"It didn't look like he properly had time to eject and because of the angle of the plane turning in the actual loop, the cockpit head was more pointing towards the ground than upwards."

In a statement, Cheshire Police said: "Shortly after 2pm we received reports of a plane having crashed in a wooded area near the CarFest North site."

"Officers are currently at the scene working to find out what has happened."

"The incident is in a very early stage and more details will be released when they become available.”

According to CarFest's website, at least five separate air display teams were due to perform over the three-day event, which started yesterday.

The Gnat Display Team fly Folland Gnat aircraft, small jet planes formerly used for training by the RAF.