Two Essex men are dead after a light aircraft crashed into a field near Ongar on Saturday afternoon.

Essex Police said the YAK 52 aircraft was seen to be in difficulty before it crashed into the field just off the A414 near Cooksmill Green, between Ongar and Writtle, bursting into flames.

The crash happened shortly before 3pm - soon after the plane had taken off from North Weald airfield.

The aircraft was completely alight when firefighters arrived on the scene, Essex Fire and Rescue Service said. Firefighters successfully managed to put the fire out.

“Despite the best efforts of the crews, the casualties were sadly pronounced dead at the scene,” an East of England ambulance service spokesman said.

“Ambulance resources have now been stood down.”

Firefighters from nearby Chelmsford, Colchester and Maldon are believed to have attended the scene.

Police have confirmed that two Essex men, a pilot and his passenger, were on board the small aircraft.

"I witnessed the plane go up in flames. Cars pulled up on the left lane and everyone ran towards the burning plane,” Rebecca Larsen told BBC News.

Another eye witness, Ongar resident Sam Gildersleeve, was having lunch with friends when he noticed the plane flying low.

“We all looked at the sky and the plane attempted to do a somersault unsuccessfully, we heard a popping sound and noticed the plane did not re-emerge," he told BBC news.

Police closed a section of the A414 between Chelmsford and Ongar while emergency services attended.

The cause of the crash is still unknown although Investigators from the Air Accident Investigation Branch are currently investigating. Both victims’ families have been notified.

This is not the first time a plane has crashed in the area. In April 2011, flight instructor Simon Hulme, 33, and his 43-year-old student Spencer Bennett were killed when their plane crashed near Langford, east of Chelmsford.


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