Friday 27 April 2018

Pensioner has lucky escape as glider crashes into garden hedge

Murray Wardrop

A pensioner has told of his lucky escape after a glider crashed in his front garden, missing his house by just a few feet.

Mike Baber, 72, was watching television with his wife Eileen when they heard a loud "thud" outside their home in Bicester, Oxon.

He rushed to the garden to find the single-seat aircraft embedded in his hedge, with one wing resting on the roof of his garage.

Miraculously, the 49-year-old pilot freed himself from the mangled wreckage unscathed and apologised to the bemused couple.

Mr Baber, a retired company director, said: “I heard this loud thud and I came outside and saw the glider stuck in our garden. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

"There were a lot of cars on the road and it could have been so much worse. It was a miracle that the pilot survived.

“We are very lucky that there is no damage to our house. In the end we were just left with a few scratches to our garage roof and the pilot walked away without a scratch on him."

The pilot had been attempting to land at nearby Bicester airfield at 5.30pm on Thursday when the incident unfolded.

Windrushers Gliding Club, of which the pilot is a member, said he overshot his landing. It later sent members to the Babers’ home to dismantle the wreckage.

The British Gliding Association has now launched an investigation into the cause of the crash on behalf of the Air Accident Investigation Branch.

Mrs Baber, 63, a grandmother-of-two, added: "It was just incredible. The pilot clambered out, he was in a state of shock but he said, ‘I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m so sorry’.

“We do see the gliders coming over quite low and wondered how close they’d come to us one day."

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