A plane crash landed into the sea during a wing-walking display during an air show in Bournemouth.
Images shared on social media showed the aircraft – on which somebody is strapped to the top of a plane with a safety harness and cable – partially submerged in Poole Harbour after plunging into the water during the Bournemouth Air Festival.
Dorset Police said both the pilot and crew member were rescued and came away with only minor injuries, which were treated by paramedics.
The force said an investigation was under way and asked members of the public to avoid the area.
The festival, which was on its third day, has been suspended.
Officials are trying to find the aircraft’s black box to establish what happened, according to local media, though it has already been alleged there was some kind of issue with the plane’s engine.
One witness told the Dorset Live news website that it only “narrowly avoided numerous boats and The Haven Hotel” as it dived into water in the Sandbanks area of Poole.
“Came down right in front of us,” a man named Alex wrote on Twitter, alongside a dramatic image of the sinking plane.
Another said: “Plane just crashed at Bournemouth Air display. Pilot and wing walker uninjured. Plane landed in sea and sank very fast. Great news everyone safe.”
Bournemouth Air Festival’s official Twitter page posted a photo of the Dorst coast line, with the update that all flying at the event had been suspended for the remainder of Saturday.
“It is our intention to have a display programme reinstated for tomorrow,” it added.
A police statement said: “We received a report at 3.50pm on Saturday 4 September 2021 that a small aircraft had crashed into the water in the Sandbanks area of Poole Harbour. Emergency services are at the scene.
“The aircraft was part of the Bournemouth Air Festival flight schedule with two people reported to be onboard. Both occupants have been rescued and are reported to have sustained minor injuries. They are receiving treatment by the ambulance service.
“An investigation is underway and we would please ask members of the public to avoid the area and harbour to allow emergency services to deal with the incident. A police cordon is currently in place.”
Meanwhile, A HM Coastguard spokesperson added in a statement that two lifeboats from RNLI Poole had been drafted in to help with the operation.
“Two people have been rescued from the water and handed into the care of the ambulance service, although it is believed they are uninjured,” the spokesperson said.
Organisers hope to be able to resume the festival’s display programme tomorrow.
“The festival site remains open and all ground-based activities [will] continue ... and the fireworks,” organisers reminded attendees in a tweet.
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