Two killed in light aircraft crash

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Two people died after a light aircraft crashed in fields, police said today.

The plane came down in Tangley, near Andover, early this afternoon, Hampshire Police said.

A police spokesman said: "A call was received at 12.40pm today after the plane was seen to come down."

The aircraft burst into flames and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to put out the blaze.

Members of the South Central Ambulance Service were also called to the site.

Two people who were on the aircraft have been confirmed dead but it is not yet known how many were on board in total.

A spokesman for the South Central Ambulance Service said: "We were called at 12.36 this afternoon to Tangley to reports of a patient who had been injured following a light aircraft crash."

A rapid response vehicle, an air ambulance and an air ambulance doctor were dispatched to the scene of the crash.

"However, we believe one patient passed away at the scene," the spokesman added.

The ambulance service was unable to confirm how many people were involved in the crash.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said it attended a "high impact crash," and said the incident was understood to have happened "at speed".

A spokesman said officers were called to the scene at 12.38.

The plane was spotted flying "really quite low" in the Tangley area shortly before the crash.

Alan Dale, a former pilot, said his wife Lesley, had noticed the aircraft but they had assumed the plane had just taken off because of its position in the sky.

"We saw the aircraft really quite low and going very slowly at about midday," he said.

"I thought it might have been a micro-light but actually it appeared to be an older aircraft.

"Lesley said it must have just taken off because it was really low."

The property developer, from Tangley, who was out riding horses at the time with his wife and son, Charlie, 12, said he saw nothing until lunchtime when he heard sirens.

He said it was common to see light aircraft flying over the area.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has launched an investigation into the crash.

A team was tonight beginning to examine the site to determine the circumstances of the incident.

A spokesman said: "The AAIB deployed a team of investigators to the scene.

"A full investigation is under way and a report will be published in due course."

One local farmer said he heard two loud explosions as the plane came down.

Robin Casson, who lives less than 100 metres from the field where the aircraft crashed, said he smelled strong fumes before he rushed to the site.

"There were a couple of big bangs and I smelt the fumes and then we saw plumes of smoke," Mr Casson said.

"I thought something had happened to one of my neighbours so I went up there and saw the plane on fire, smouldering in the cattle field.

"You could see what looked like somebody in there. There wasn't much left of the plane - all you could see was the shell."

The 49-year-old said he felt something was wrong when his animals started acting strangely after the initial explosions which were "certainly too loud to be gun fire."

He then made his way to the site to see if he could help, moments before an air ambulance arrived.

He said one neighbour, who had seen the aircraft come down, scrambled through a hedge into the field and ran over to the plane.

But he added: "It was burning wreckage, there was nothing you could do - it hit the ground hard."