Farage 'lucky to be alive' after plane crash

Nigel Farage, Ukip's highest-profile election candidate, had a miraculous escape yesterday after his aircraft crashed following a last-minute election stunt.

The party's former leader admitted he was "lucky to be alive" after he was pulled bloodied and semi-conscious from the wreckage of a light aircraft that crash-landed in a Northamptonshire airfield.

He was later found to have chipped his spine and damaged his ribs and sternum. The aircraft hit trouble when the election banner it was towing, asking voters to "Vote for your country – vote Ukip", became entangled in its tail fin.

Mr Farage had been in bright spirits before the aircraft took off, joking with photographers ahead of his final act of electioneering.

He had been hoping to pick up some extra votes in his bid to unseat the former Commons Speaker John Bercow in the Tory stronghold of Buckingham. However, as the plane took off at around 8am yesterday, the banner seemed to get caught up in the aircraft's tail. It crash-landed in Hinton-in-the-Hedges airfield moments later. Mr Farage was found bent double underneath the plane, still strapped in to his seat. He was pulled out with his Ukip rosette unscathed. The pilot had to be cut from the wreckage and was airlifted to Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry.

The plane had already made one successful trip from Winchester before taking off again from Hinton, where the accident happened. Mr Farage had planned to take to the skies over Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire during the morning.

He was taken to Horton General Hospital in Banbury, Oxfordshire. He was later transferred to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where he was due to stay overnight. It means he will be unable to attend his own election count. Mr Bercow, his main election rival, was one of the first to offer sympathy to Mr Farage.

"I was concerned to learn of this morning's crash," he said. "I wish Nigel Farage and his pilot a full and speedy recovery." His wife, Sally, also made her concern clear. "Shocked at news that Ukip's Nigel Farage has been involved in plane crash," she said on the social networking site Twitter. "But glad he appears to be OK."

Chris Adams, Mr Farage's campaign manager, was clearly upset as he visited the wreckage of the Polish fixed-wing aircraft yesterday. "Apparently the plane nosedived," he said. "The pilot had sent out a May Day signal and it basically crash-dived. It's all a bit of a shock, especially on polling day." Mr Farage drifted in and out of consciousness as he was freed from the plane, which had flipped on to its roof on impact.

Lord Pearson, Ukip's leader, said Mr Farage had been visited by his wife in hospital. "Despite being in considerable pain, we deduce that Nigel is back to something like his normal form," he said. "He told Ukip's Banbury candidate, Dr Sebastian Fairweather, who gained access to him in hospital, to 'stop worrying about me, get back out there and get out the vote'.

"We also understand that the injuries to the pilot, Justin Adams, may be less serious than previously feared, though we have been unable to speak to his family. It is clear that both men had a remarkably lucky escape," he added.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?