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Crash ‘could have so easily been disaster’
CONCERNED neighbours living close to the site of the light aircraft crash landing near Wanborough on Sunday say it was an ‘accident waiting to happen’.
The pilot of the GA8 Airvan, Geoffrey Kent from Swindon, broke his leg in the crash which happened just yards from a barn in Horpit shortly after take off at around 10.20am.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has launched a full investigation into the incident which miraculously saw all eight skydivers on board walk away unscathed.
Police, firefighters, paramedics and the Wiltshire Air Ambulance attended the incident, which people say could have had a ‘disastrous’ ending.
Alan Bowman, 67, of Edale Moor, Liden, lives under the plane’s flight path.
He said: “The flight path heads straight towards the hospital and over the blocks of flats in Liden, so if the engine had packed up overhead, it could have been a very different story, completely disastrous, and it just doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Kay Lacey, 50, who lives adjacent to Redlands Airfield on Stratton Road, Wanborough, said the group of people on board had a lucky escape.
“A lot of the residents living nearby are not at all surprised this has happened,” she said. “As we warned, it was an accident waiting to happen. It is only by the grace of God that no one was killed, just imagine what would have happened if it had crashed in to a house.”
Kay, who moved to her current home 12 years ago before the airfield opened, says on numerous occasions the aircraft have flown ‘dangerously low’ over the area.
“This year I witnessed a plane wobble very near the trees in my garden, flying exceedingly close to the ground near electricity cables and hedges as it came in to land.
“The weather was freezing this Sunday, the coldest day this winter an icy mist enveloped the area restricting visibility. I heard the plane take off and then I noticed the engine stopped.
“We are not surprised at all – I would think that the weather conditions were such that it was unwise for the plane to take off.”
A spokeswoman for the Great Western Hospital confirmed that Mr Kent was currently in a stable condition.
Peter Marsden, whose Surrey-based Boogie Club leases the aircrafts to the airfield, was unavailable to comment.