Suffolk

Newmarket glider crash: Pilot parachutes from wreckage

A pilot parachuted to safety after a mid-air collision between two gliders over Suffolk.

One pilot sustained head injuries and the other was unhurt in the crash above Newmarket, near the town's racecourse.

Police were called to reports of a parachutist coming down from a glider at about 16:00 BST. Both male pilots were found about 30 minutes later.

A witness said one of the gliders was seen to "nosedive" while the other came down in a more controlled manner.

'Bit mangled'

An ambulance service spokeswoman said: "One sustained no injuries and the other was initially unconscious but regained consciousness and did not suffer any traumatic injuries.

"That patient was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, by land ambulance."

The gliders were taking part in the third day of the 2012 British Club Class Gliding National Championships held by the Cambridge Gliding Centre, spokesman Richard Brickwood said.

He said they started from the club's base at Gransden Lodge Airfield on the border of Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire at 13:40 BST.

Mr Brickwood said the two pilots crashed during the race that involved 50 competitors. He added the men were competing, but were not members of the centre and not from the local area.

The witness, from Newmarket, said there had been about 20 gliders flying over the town shortly before the collision.

"We looked away for a second and then we looked back and saw one doing a nose dive," he said.

"It was going down quite fast and the glider pilot managed to parachute out.

"We saw another one come down but that looked more controlled.

"I can see two of the gliders that have landed. One looks a bit mangled."