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Two killed in lake plane crash

Two men died after a light aircraft clipped trees and crashed into a lake.

The two-seater plane, thought to be a vintage Yak and capable of aerobatics, was one of three aircraft flying in formation before it came down, witnesses told rescuers.

The emergency services worked to recover the bodies from the wreckage, which lay at the bottom of a deep and "murky" private fishing lake in Maldon, Essex, on Thursday.

Police later confirmed the men had died and said the plane had been recovered on to the side of the lake.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "It is unlikely that the two men will be named prior to formal identification procedures being completed and all next of kin being informed. The cause of the crash is still to be determined and becomes the responsibility of the AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch) whose inspectors will be examining the aircraft."

Earlier, assistant divisional officer Dave Barritt said: "A crash investigation will be carried out but we have found some debris at the side of the lake and the plane is completely submerged so it appears that the aircraft clipped the trees before ditching into the lake."

Mr Barritt, the incident commander for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, said initial reports suggested that, before the crash, the three vintage light aircraft were flying in formation over the area, a common sight in the skies above Essex ahead of a series of air shows this summer.

He added that the plane crashed into the middle of the lake near Ulting Lane in Langdon village, Maldon, which is both "murky" and deep. It had taken off from North Weald airfield in Essex.

Underwater photographs of the wreckage were being studied by rescue crews on the ground, Mr Barritt said.

Earlier, a fire service spokesman said reports from the scene confirmed that the aircraft had "nosedived" into the lake, with its tail end approximately 10ft (3m) under water and the nose of the plane pointing down.

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