Miracle escape as plane crashes into CAR and explodes in flames
This was the astonishing scene on an airfield after a two-seater plane crashed into a car, sparking a fireball.
Miraculously, the occupants of the Volvo XC60 escaped without a scratch – although the pilot of the AT3 plane suffered serious injuries.
By another stroke of luck, there was a volunteer fire crew already on site, and the blaze was quickly put out.
The driver and passenger of the car, who were leaving the North Weald Airfield, in Essex, managed to help the pilot out of the wreckage, following the crash at 2.25pm yesterday afternoon.
A single engine AT3 aircraft struck this Volvo XC60 at North Weald Airfield in Essex, yesterday afternoon. The occupants of the car escaped without a scratch and helped pull the plane pilot to safety seconds before a fierce fire
A fire service spokesman said: 'An onlooker who saw the incident told us that the plane appeared to come into land but immediately took off again, banking over the top of a hanger before coming back to try a second landing and clipping the back of a brand new Volvo with two people inside who were driving out of the airfield.'
Steve Brecknell, North Weald Airfield fire officer, added: 'The fire crew were on the closed part of the airfield for a drag race, they are just there in case anything happens.
'Then there was the crash on the other side of the air field and they rushed to put the fire out.
'An aircraft got in some sort of difficulty and as he tried to put it down and get onto the taxiway it hit this Volvo.
'The car was driving along, leaving the airfield - it was pure fluke that the plane hit it.
'The two guys inside the car looked in their rear view mirror and saw it coming towards them.
'They jumped out and helped the pilot and seconds later the plane caught light. It could have been much worse if he hadn't been dragged out.
'I don't know what caused the crash - by the sound of it, it is one of those freak things.'
The pilot was treated at the scene by an ambulance crew before being rushed to hospital.
A volunteer fire crew were on site at the time of the accident and were able to put out the blaze
The man, who is thought to be 40-years-old and from Hertfordshire, suffered facial, back injuries and a suspected leg injury in the crash.
A spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Service said the pilot was conscious and in a stable condition when taken by ambulance to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex.
Speaking on a flying forum, a fellow pilot described the scene at the airfield after he landed another plane a few moments before the crash.
He said: 'The main runway was closed as it was being used for drag racing, but the cross runway was open.
'I landed on runway 13 a few minutes before the incident and heard but did not see the crash, whilst I was putting the cover on my plane. There was a mild crosswind.
'An ambulance was at the scene when I left the airfield.'
He added: 'The aircraft was completely wrecked, with everything forward of the cockpit consumed by impact and/or fire, and the car was badly impacted dented and burned out.
‘The fire was quite fierce for a few minutes, and produced a plume of black smoke.
I am sorry to read that the pilot was injured. The people in the car were said at the time to be OK (it was a modern car with side impact protection), but I have no confirmation of that.
'I have no idea what happened just before the crash. Some people at the scene mentioned a control problem, but that might have been speculation.
'Three cheers also for whoever was first on the scene to assist the pilot and the people in the car from the wreckage.'
Station Officer Len Cleary said: 'The pilot was lucky. It appears that the two people in the car brought him clear of the fire after the collision.
'It is not clear at this stage whether the incident was caused by mechanical failure or human error.
'The volunteer fire team acted swiftly to cover the scene with a blanket of foam so when we arrived the fire was under control.
'We have now scaled back our investigation but may return to the scene should the Civil Aviation Authority deem an investigation necessary.'