Light aircraft crash-lands in Cheltenham garden

Light aircraft crash lands in Cheltenham garden
Image caption The aircraft landed amongst gardens between houses
Light aircraft crash-lands in Cheltenham garden
Image caption The 76-year-old pilot escaped with minor injuries in the crash
Light aircraft crash-lands in Cheltenham garden
Image caption An emergency parachute lowered the plane down
Light aircraft crash-lands in Cheltenham garden
Image caption The crashed plane was visible from several properties and nearby houses were evacuated as a precaution while the scene was made safe
Image of plane landing
Image caption An emergency parachute system was used by the pilot to bring the plane down

A light aircraft has crash-landed in the back garden of a house in Cheltenham.

An emergency system on board the single-engine Cirrus SR22 was deployed, releasing a parachute to slow the plane's descent.

A Gloucestershire Police spokesperson said the pilot, a 76-year-old man from London, suffered minor injuries.

The homeowner's son Jamie Greeff was in bed at the time and said the noise was like "something out of a movie".

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Media captionThe homeowner told the BBC: "A plane dropped out of the sky into my garden"

'Pilot yelling'

"We have building work going on next door and all the builders were yelling, and I just thought it was building equipment," said 16-year-old Jamie.

"The next thing I know my dad is yelling at me that a plane has crashed into the garden.

"And then I look out the back and there is this plane in the trees and the pilot was yelling that he was alright."

Emergency crews were called to Langdale Road in Up Hatherley at 10:45 BST.

Nearby houses were evacuated as a precaution while the fire service made the scene safe.

Gloucestershire Airport, at Staverton, which is 2.5 miles (4km) from the scene, said the 4-seat aircraft had been on its way to land there at the time of the crash.

'All shook up'

"The pilot deployed an emergency parachute system and the aircraft landed in a residential garden near the Hatherley area of Cheltenham," said a spokesperson.

David Shatford, from Cheltenham, watched the drama from scaffolding while working on a nearby home.

"We heard a big loud noise, [the plane] was spinning in the parachute and landed in the trees about 12ft away from us," he said.

"We stood back, and then I went towards the plane - me and another gentleman - and helped the pilot out. He was all shook up and didn't talk much."

The parachute was designed by BRS Aerospace based in Minnesota, USA, in 1975. Company director Boris Popov had the idea following a 400ft (120m) fall he survived in a collapsed hang-glider.

"I think this is our 295th person that's been saved with the use of our system," said current CEO and president Larry Williams.

"Here's a guy who literally was able to deploy the system and walk away, essentially uninjured, from this.

"Probably the most gratifying thing in terms of what we do is when someone comes around and says: 'Hey, I deployed your system and it saved my life'. That's very rewarding."

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