Air crash pilot 'avoided houses'
Published 04/07/2011 | 18:32
A pilot died after he managed to steer his light aircraft into a recreation ground avoiding nearby houses after being in a mid-air collision with another plane, according to police.
The incident was reported close to Shoreham Airport, near Brighton, West Sussex, at around 4.28pm, Sussex Police said.
A Sussex Police spokesman said the pilot, a 63-year-old man from the local area, appeared to have taken action to avoid houses before the aircraft crashed on to the Adur recreation ground.
The spokesman said that there were people in the area at the time but there were no casualties on the ground.
He added that there was wreckage strewn over a wide area which had now been cordoned off by police. The A259 Brighton Road was also closed while officers began their investigation into the crash.
The second aircraft, a Diamond DA40, landed safely and the two crew were shaken but otherwise uninjured, the spokesman added.
Superintendent Neil Honnor, from Sussex Police, said: "This is a very tragic incident. It would appear that the dead pilot tried to avoid local houses and managed to crash into the open recreation ground. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."
A team from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has been sent to the scene, a spokesman said.
One of the planes involved in the collision belonged to Flying Time Aviation, which provides training for pilots and is based at Shoreham Airport.
In a statement, the company said: "We can confirm there has been an incident concerning one of our aircraft. We are uncertain of the details at the present time and the incident is currently under investigation by the AAIB and Sussex Police. Both of the pilots operating our aircraft were uninjured during the incident."