Saturday 3 December 2016

Dramatic images as spectators rescue pilot after plane plunges into sea during air show

Published 15/08/2016 | 09:27

Handout photo dated 14/08/16 issued by Nigel Hancock of a light aircraft after it plunged into the sea at the Herne Bay air show in Kent
Handout photo dated 14/08/16 issued by Nigel Hancock of a light aircraft after it plunged into the sea at the Herne Bay air show in Kent

Spectators have been praised for wading into the sea to help a pilot who ditched his plane into the water after it ran into trouble during an air show.

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Witness Nigel Hancock told how people rushed forward to right the light aircraft after it plunged into the sea at the Herne Bay air show in Kent on Sunday.

Handout photo dated 14/08/16 issued by Nigel Hancock of a light aircraft after it plunged into the sea at the Herne Bay air show in Kent
Handout photo dated 14/08/16 issued by Nigel Hancock of a light aircraft after it plunged into the sea at the Herne Bay air show in Kent

Mr Hancock captured striking images of the moment the plane came down near Sea View Road, and of members of the public dashing into the sea to help out.

He said: "I was sat up on a local high point. I'd only just arrived there when I saw this aircraft had left the display pattern. I thought something was amiss, so I took a sequence of shots.

Handout photo dated 14/08/16 issued by Nigel Hancock of a light aircraft after it plunged into the sea at the Herne Bay air show in Kent
Handout photo dated 14/08/16 issued by Nigel Hancock of a light aircraft after it plunged into the sea at the Herne Bay air show in Kent

"The aircraft was very small and it ended up in shallow water. If it wasn't for the quick actions of people on the beach wading in to help right the aircraft, I don't know what would have happened."

The air show said on its Facebook page that the incident involved the Turbulent Display Team, and confirmed that the pilot suffered minor injuries.

Handout photo dated 14/08/16 issued by Nigel Hancock of a light aircraft after it plunged into the sea at the Herne Bay air show in Kent
Handout photo dated 14/08/16 issued by Nigel Hancock of a light aircraft after it plunged into the sea at the Herne Bay air show in Kent

Matt West, of the UK Coastguard, said the pilot was uninjured.

The Lydd-based Coastguard search and rescue helicopter was scrambled, along with Coastguard rescue teams and the Whitstable inshore lifeboat.

Handout photo dated 14/08/16 issued by Nigel Hancock of a light aircraft after it plunged into the sea at the Herne Bay air show in Kent
Handout photo dated 14/08/16 issued by Nigel Hancock of a light aircraft after it plunged into the sea at the Herne Bay air show in Kent

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) deployed a team to investigate.

Safety regulations at UK air shows were tightened in the wake of last August's Shoreham air disaster, which claimed 11 lives.

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