Two critical after plane accident
Published 29/07/2011 | 13:32
Two men who had a "miracle escape" when their light aircraft crashed between two semi-detached houses shortly after take-off and burst into flames are in a critical condition in hospital.
The pilot and passenger, one in his late 50s and the other aged 21, suffered extensive burns after the single-engine plane plummeted to the ground and caught fire on Friday.
A man sitting inside one of the houses at the moment of impact escaped injury, and recovered from the shock to help police douse the blazing plane.
The Piper PA38 Tomahawk aircraft left City Airport Manchester at 12.20pm, flying only a short distance before coming down and hitting the two homes in Newlands Avenue in Eccles, Salford. Extensive structural damage was caused to one of the properties.
No-one apart from the occupants of the aircraft, operated by Ravenair Flying School, was thought to have been injured.
A spokeswoman for North West Ambulance Service said: "There were two patients on board who both suffered burns. A man in his late 50s had 70% burns and a man aged 21 had 60% burns. Both were taken by the North West Air Ambulance to Wythenshawe Hospital."
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service station commander Paul Duggan said neighbours rushed to help the stricken pilot and his passenger, who had landed "fairly neatly" between the two homes at numbers 7 and 9 Newlands Avenue.
He said: "The plane had also caught fire, so a number of people, including an occupant of the property, two passers-by and a passing police officer, then tried to fight the fire by putting water on it.
"That was fairly successful but not until some burns had been sustained by the occupants of the aircraft. One occupant of the plane was removed quite quickly but the second had to be cut from the wreckage."
A cordon remains in place as structural engineers from Salford Council assessed the damage to the two buildings and arranged temporary accommodation for the two families affected. Neighbours were also waiting to be told when it was safe for them to return to their homes.