Light aircraft crashes at Isle of Wight Airport

Image caption,
Firefighters used foam to extinguish the blaze

A light aircraft has crashed close to an airfield on the Isle of Wight.

The single engine plane came down behind hangars at Isle of Wight Airport at Sandown shortly after 10:20 BST, Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue said.

The male pilot was airlifted to hospital in Southampton with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

An investigation is under way into the cause of the crash. A World War Two commemoration event was being held at the airfield at the time.

Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft get into difficulties shortly after taking off the from the grass air strip.

Jim Birnie, who runs a flying school at the airport, said: "The aircraft seemed to have a controlled take-off and then came down in a field adjacent to the airfield and subsequently caught fire."

Image caption,
Danny Morfee and Andy Haslin helped drag the pilot clear of the wreckage

Andy Haslin, who owns the nearby Cheverton Copse Holiday Park, said he ran towards the scene of the crash with his brother-in-law Danny Morfee after seeing a "massive billow" of thick black smoke.

He described seeing the pilot lying motionless close to the burning wreckage.

"We grabbed him and pulled him away from danger," he said.

"You just think, 'this guy needs to get away from the plane as quick as possible'. It was pretty hot but we managed to get him away as quickly as we could," he added.

The plane is not believed to have been taking part in the End of the War Celebration event being held over the weekend.

Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service station manager Andrew Cave said: "The crews were faced with the small plane which had banked very steeply then dropped and landed in the corner of the field.

"There was 90 litres of fuel on board, it was fully loaded so we put a foam blanket down to stop the vapour coming off the fuel."

The Air Accident Investigation Branch has been informed.

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