Three die as planes collide in mid-air near London

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The Independent Online

The pilots of two light aircraft and a child passenger were killed after their planes collided in mid-air near London yesterday afternoon.

The pilots of two light aircraft and a child passenger were killed after their planes collided in mid-air near London yesterday afternoon.

The aircraft crashed into fields close to Hastingwood village, near Harlow in Essex, after colliding as they prepared to land at North Weald airfield at about 5.25pm.

One of the aircraft involved was a Russian-built, single-seater Yak aerobatics plane belonging to an air display team based at the airfield.

Seven aircraft in the team had been practising over the area yesterday afternoon, but the pilot killed in the crash was returning to the airfield after visiting friends.

The other aircraft, which was carrying its male pilot and the child, was a privately owned Cessna 172 also based at North Weald.

They crashed in fields about 100 metres away from houses on Mill Street, leaving debris scattered around the area

The police cordoned off the immediate area, as emergency services including an RAF Sea King helicopter and an air ambulance arrived on the scene.

One witness, Richard Dunmore, 21, saw the crash from his home in Mill Street. He said: "One hit the other from the side, at an angle. I saw a wing come off and spiral downwards.

"Then the two planes just fell out of the sky. One fell into a field about 100 yards away. The other crashed in another field a bit further away.

"I ran over with a neighbour to see if we could help. There was no fire. They had hit the ground so hard they were buried about six or seven feet below the surface. No one could have escaped alive."

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