Bournemouth Air Festival crash pilot avoided a 'catastrophe'

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Media caption,

CCTV shows moment of Bournemouth air show crash in sea

An eyewitness has told how a pilot avoided a "catastrophe" after a plane crashed into the sea injuring two people at Bournemouth Air Festival.

The crash, involving a wing-walker plane took place away from the display area off Bournemouth beach on Saturday.

Alan Badenhorst helped rescue the pair from Poole Harbour by pulling them on his boat. The crew suffered minor injuries, Dorset Police said.

He said the pilot seemed to display an "incredible feat of flying".

Mr Badenhorst had been in a dinghy with his partner and their three young children when he spotted the low-flying aircraft.

"The plane kept getting lower, and lower," he said. "And then suddenly the plane hit the water and flipped over."

The father-of one, from Wareham, Dorset, said his family then went to the Aerosuperbatics plane's aid, and dragged the pilot and a woman from the water into their dinghy. The plane sunk shortly after, he said.

"It was an incredible piece of flying to be able to land in the water between the rocks, our boats, the chain ferry - just amazing," he said.

He added that after the crash the pilot went under the water to help get his passenger out.

Image caption,
A crane lifted the plane out of Poole Harbour, near Sandbanks, on Sunday

"Had he landed anywhere else it would have been catastrophic... who knows what travesty could have unfolded," Mr Badenhorst said.

"It was the most surreal experience really. It's a day the kids will never forget and I don't think I will either really."

Festival director Jon Weaver said the crew members were "both fine".

Speaking to BBC Radio Solent on Sunday, Mr Weaver said: "I have been in contact, but not directly. They have been discharged and they are out of hospital."

Flying resumed on Sunday at about 15:00 BST, with aerial displays including the Royal Air Force's Red Arrows.

Image source, @ACason00
Image caption,
Alex Cason described the crash as "terrifying"

Eyewitnesses described "terrifying" scenes on Saturday afternoon as the biplane hit the water and flipped.

Mark Ash, who saw what happened, said people had been worried the low-flying plane would crash on land.

He said: "It was coming straight towards us. We didn't quite know what to do, We wouldn't have got out the way in time.

"Luckily the pilot - [he was] amazing - managed to steer the plane away from the path and probably crashed 15ft into the water."

Image source, Owain Hughes
Image caption,
Owain Hughes said he thought the plane was going to crash into his boat

Reflecting on the crash, Mr Weaver said it was a reminder of the "huge amount of effort" put into air safety and "fortunately it wasn't a serious incident".

A crane arrived on Sunday to salvage the plane from the water .

Dorset Police and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch have both confirmed they have launched investigations into the crash.

Image caption,
Dorset Police and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch have launched investigations

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