Miraculous escape for two-man crew

PUBLISHED: 12:48 14 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:51 31 May 2010

The wreckage

The wreckage

TWO men had a miraculous escape when their private aeroplane crashed close to the Duxford Imperial War Museum airfield last Wednesday afternoon. The 59-year-old pilot and an engineer were on board the T-33 twin-seat jet trainer when it came down in a pota

An investigation is mounted - Pic: Stephen Huntley

TWO men had a miraculous escape when their private aeroplane crashed close to the Duxford Imperial War Museum airfield last Wednesday afternoon.

The 59-year-old pilot and an engineer were on board the T-33 twin-seat jet trainer when it came down in a potato field next to the A505 at about 2.30pm, just minutes after taking off from the Duxford runway.

The plane split into three parts and caught fire, but the two men managed to free themselves from the wreckage.

Eyewitness Aurelio Arias, 18, of Littlebury, was cycling to Cambridge when he heard a loud bang and saw smoke rising towards the sky.

He said: "I had my earphones on but even over those I heard a tremendous jarring noise and then a loud thud, followed by plumes of black smoke rising right up in to the air.

"As the plane came down, it looked like it had hit a tree or a hedge and just crumbled.

"I cycled closer to the scene and saw that the plane had broken clean into three parts, but that one man had escaped and was on the floor and another was walking about.

"The smoke seemed to dissipate rapidly and the emergency services arrived on the scene really quickly."

A Cambridgeshire police helicopter, two ambulances, an air ambulance and fire crews from Cambridge and Sawston attended the scene, along with a fire crew from Stansted Airport.

An East of England Ambulance spokesman said: "Both men have clearly been extremely lucky to escape from an accident that could easily have had fatal consequences.

"The plane came down about a mile to the west of the airfield and, astonishingly, the two man crew escaped serious injury and managed to get out of the wreckage of the plane themselves.

"The men were assessed by the doctor on the air ambulance and the 59-year-old who sustained a very minor back injury was taken to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge by land ambulance as a precaution. The other member of the crew was not injured."

A spokesman for the museum said a full investigation into the accident would be carried out.

He said: "The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has been notified and they will be carrying out a full investigation into the cause of the accident.

"The museum will also carry out an internal review to ensure that all aspects of its safety procedures were fully implemented."

No members of the public were involved in the incident and fortunately the A505 did not have to be closed by the police.

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