Saturday, 16 December 2017

Light aircraft makes emergency landing

THE pilot of a plane was forced to make an emergency landing in a field near Sonning Common.

The red and white Piper Cherokee 140 came down in the field next to Chiltern Edge School at about 11am last Friday.

Several pupils rushed to look at the plane.

Year 10 student Dan Gomersall, 15, from Sonning Common, said: “I saw it flying over the school at break time and thought it looked like it was going down. When it nearly hit a tree we realised it was going to land and ran to the bottom of the school field and over the fence.

“Apparently, the engine died in mid-air and they had to find a landing spot. They were going to put it down in the school grounds but couldn’t because of all the children.”

The plane had taken off earlier that morning from White Waltham Airfield in Maidenhead with the pilot and one passenger. The airfield has launched an investigation.

The plane was moved to the corner of the field, owned by Vine’s Farm, until Thursday, when engineers from the airfield dismantled it and took it away on a lorry.

Vine’s Farm manager Roddy Young said: “It landed in the middle of a field of winter barley which was about 10 days away from harvest. It wasn’t appropriate for it to take off and not safe so the engineers decided to take it apart so they can fix the broken component properly.

“Our concern was safety. We couldn’t leave it in the middle of the field because it could have been vandalised and we didn’t want people walking through the field to look at it.”

The Department for Transport confirmed the incident had been reported to the Air Accidents Investigation team.

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