Essex

Chigwell air crash: Two dead as aircraft bursts into flames

Chigwell aircraft crash site Image copyright Stephen Huntley
Image caption The plane came down in a field between Gravel Lane and Miller's Lane

Two people have died in a light aircraft that crashed and caught fire in Essex.

The Beechcraft King Air 200 came down in a field off Gravel Lane and Miller's Lane in Chigwell just before 10:20 BST and burst into flames, police said.

A fire service spokesman said: "On arrival crews reported that the aircraft was 100% alight."

Essex Police said the plane was an eight-seater, but there were only two people on board.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Essex Police said it was working with the government's Air Accident Investigation Branch to find out what happened
Image caption Emergency services closed off the crash site between Gravel Lane and Miller's Lane
Image copyright Stephen Huntley
Image caption Debris from the Beechcraft King Air 200 was spread across the field where it crashed

A police spokesperson said: "We now believe there to have been two people on board the light aircraft which crashed in the field off Gravel Lane in Chigwell. Sadly they both died."

The plane was owned and operated by London Executive Aviation (LEA), who said it had just taken off from nearby Stapleford Airfield and was heading for Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

'Highly experienced'

A spokesman for the company said the plane was manufactured in 1981 and had its most recent scheduled maintenance inspection on 12 June.

A statement described both crew members, who have not been named, as "highly experienced professional pilots".

Managing director George Galanopoulos said: "Everybody at LEA is shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic accident.

"Our hearts go out to the families and friends of our colleagues who lost their lives.

"We will also co-operate fully with the authorities charged with investigating the causes of the accident."

The company said next-of-kin were being informed via Essex Police.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The aircraft took off from Stapleford Airfield, about five miles from the scene of the crash

Ray Gibbs, who was at Woolston Manor Golf and Country Club when the crash happened, said: "We were playing golf and heard a loud bang and the ground rumbled a bit, but we couldn't see any smoke, so we were not sure how far away it was."

Road closures were affecting Gravel Lane, Abridge Road, Miller's Lane, Lambourne Road and Pudding Lane.

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