Former UK Independence Party (Ukip) leader Nigel Farage last night spoke about his “miraculous escape” from a light plane crash after an election stunt went wrong.
The MEP, who is standing in the General Election for Buckingham, was pulled bloodied and dazed from the crushed cockpit of the plane which was towing a banner bearing the slogan, “Vote for your country — Vote Ukip”.
In a statement released by his spokesman Duncan Barkes, Mr Farage said of the crash, in which pilot Justin Adams was also injured: “We've both had a miraculous escape. We are both very lucky to be alive.”
Mr Farage is being treated at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford where a hospital spokeswoman said he was likely to remain “for a few days”.
Mr Barkes added: “He is not going anywhere today. There is no way he will be at the count tomorrow. He's got two broken ribs, a small chip to his spine and damage to his sternum.”
Mr Farage's wife Kirsten was at his bedside earlier yesterday but has since returned to their home in Westerham, Kent, to care for the couple's two children.
Mr Adams is in a stable condition in hospital in Coventry where he is being kept under observation, Mr Barkes said.
Describing how Mr Farage was feeling, he added: “Of course he's shaken up, but he is mostly feeling incredibly lucky to get out of the plane. He's just been worried about the pilot. Yes it's May 6, but today is about people, not politics.”
Mr Farage was talking as soon as he emerged from the wreckage, and managed to walk to the ambulance.
His spokesman said: “As soon as he came out he wanted a cigarette. You wouldn't expect anything else, really.”
He witnessed the crash, saying the plane had been flying low before flipping and hitting the ground.
Yesterday was the third time Mr Farage had been in the plane trailing the Ukip banner, and the flights had previously passed without incident.
Ukip leader Lord Pearson will now attend the count for the Buckingham seat, at Aylesbury Civic Centre, in Mr Farage's place.