Hucknall crash pilot praised for avoiding motorway

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Media captionEyewitness Craig Wing: "He managed to swerve from the M1 into the field."

The pilot of a light plane that crashed into a field near the M1 has been praised by another pilot for steering away from the motorway.

The unnamed pilot died in the crash near Junction 26 at Hucknall in Nottinghamshire along with another man.

"It sounds like he has tried his absolute upmost to avoid the motorway where it could have caused a far worse accident," Sean Elkington said.

An investigation has started into the cause of Saturday's crash.

'Very brave'

Eyewitness Craig Wing, 31, from Clifton, who was driving along the M1, said: "It lost control and it just dipped straight down.

"He managed to swerve from the M1 and into the field."

Mr Elkington, a pilot at Sherwood Flying Club based at Nottingham Airport at Tollerton, said: "It sounds like the pilot has done a very good job in avoiding the motorway."

He said all planes must undergo a thorough safety check every year, adding that "mechanical failures do occur but they are rare".

"What the pilot has done was very brave and skilled to avoid the M1 - which could have caused more casualties.

"It is very sad to hear about the loss of life - but aviation is generally very safe and has very good safety record generally," Mr Elkington added.

A spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said a report into the crash was being prepared.

The identities of the two crash victims are expected to be released by police later.

The closest runway to the crash site is at Hucknall Aerodrome, operated by the Merlin Flying Club, but it is not yet known if the plane was flying to or from that airstrip.

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