Report released into UKIP leader's aircraft crash

An air crash which left UKIP leader Nigel Farage severely injured on general election day was caused by a campaign banner, an accident report said today.







The PZL-104 Wilga 35A light aircraft came down in Northamptonshire after the tow line for the banner became wrapped around the tailplane, according to the report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).



This caused the aircraft's nose to drop and although the pilot Justin Adams, 45, "maintained some control of the aircraft" he could not prevent it crashing at Hinton-in-the-Hedges Airfield on the morning of May 6, the report said.



Mr Farage, who was standing - ultimately unsuccessfully - against the Commons Speaker John Bercow in the constituency of Buckingham, suffered broken ribs, bruised lungs and facial injuries.



He was treated at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and said afterwards: "I must be the luckiest man alive."



Mr Adams was also seriously injured and was trapped in the wreckage of the aircraft by a foot until freed by firefighters, the report said.



The AAIB said the aircraft had taken off from Hinton-in-the Hedges to tow the banner, with Mr Farage in the passenger seat "intending to receive text messages from colleagues on the ground giving locations where the banner could be shown to maximum effect".



The report said there were four unsuccessful attempts to connect the banner with the grapple hook attached to the aircraft.



A fifth attempt got the banner in the air but Mr Adams found that the control column was being pulled forward "with a force that required both hands to resist".



Attempting to land back at Hinton-in-the Hedges, Mr Adams found the control column was pulled forward "with a force he could not resist".



He managed to get the nose level but this did not prevent the aircraft "hitting the found with a high rate of descent".



The engine was separated from its mounts and the landing gear collapsed and the aircraft came to rest upside down.



Mr Farage, dressed in a pin-stripe suit, blue shirt and tie, with a UKIP rosette still attached, was able to get out after his harness was released by witnesses.



After the crash, one shocked witness said he thought both men had perished.



He said: "He was coming around to do another run and then it fell out of the sky, and flipped over on its front.



"It was all over in a couple of seconds. I really thought they had both died."



Mr Farage, who was not UKIP leader at the time but has since been re-elected as head of the party, later described the incident as "the scariest moment of my life".



He added that as the plane came down he had thought: "I hope this is over quickly."



Mr Farage, who is MEP for South East region, said the worst part was being trapped in the aircraft as petrol poured over his clothes and hair. "I thought: 'God, we survived the impact, now we're going to burn to death'."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Service Manager

£37000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has a track record...

Recruitment Genius: Solar Field Sales Executive

£40000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable