Pilot in mid-air crash fought to avoid houses
Tuesday 05 July 2011
A pilot involved in a mid-air collision in West Sussex yesterday was hailed for his tragic heroism by police, after managing to steer his light aircraft away from houses in the final moments before his death.
One resident of Shoreham, near Brighton, said it was a "miracle" nobody else was killed after the 63-year-old local man's aeroplane came down on the Adur recreation ground, narrowly avoiding nearby homes. Though people were in the area at the time, there were no other casualties when the incident occurred shortly before 4:30 yesterday afternoon.
The two crew of the other aircraft involved in the collision were shaken but otherwise uninjured and managed to land their Diamond DA40 safely a spokesman for Sussex Police said.
One witness, 41-year-old Rob Piatt, said he was sitting in a pub beer garden when a bang overhead led him to turn around and see two aircraft parting in mid-air.
"I saw the tailfin of one of the aircraft floating down. The poor pilot was weaving all over the place," he said. "Then the aircraft went out of sight and we were just waiting to hear the explosion. There was no way he could have got out of it. He was going down at such a steep angle and pretty quickly. He did very well to get it to the recreation ground and not crash in the airfield itself."
Mr Piatt added: "It was very near a kids' playground and it is an area that's popular with dog walkers. On a gorgeous day like today there would have been loads of people out on the recreation ground. It's a miracle no one was hurt on the ground."
Superintendent Neil Honnor, from Sussex Police, said: "It would appear that the dead pilot tried to avoid local houses and managed to crash into the open recreation ground." A team from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) attended the scene
One of the planes involved in the collision belonged to Flying Time Aviation, which provides training for pilots and is based at Shoreham Airport. A spokesman said: "We have never before had a serious incident during the history of our flight training organisation and safety is, and always has been, our main priority."
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked 4Chan photos
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to come
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: DT teachers required ...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary teachers ne...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Primary PPA Teachers required for wo...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teachers requir...