Eyewitness describes last moments of tragic flight from North Weald airfield

The scene of the crash which left two men dead

The scene of the crash which left two men dead

First published in News
Last updated

An eyewitness has described how he was one of the first people on the scene of a fatal plane crash after watching the last moments of the flight from his garden.

The YAK 52 aircraft burst into flames when it crashed into a field off the A414 near Cooksmill Green, between Ongar and Writtle, at around 3pm on Saturday - soon after it had taken off from North Weald airfield.

Both the pilot, Andrew John Sully, and passenger Simon Chamberlain, 29, from Harlow, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The eyewitness, who asked not to be named, watched the drama unfold from his back garden, which overlooks the crash site.

He said: “I was standing out in the garden when I saw the plane come over the steep bank of the field, flying quite low. It did a very sharp U-turn, went back across the field and then crashed into the bank.

“I saw the plane burst into flames and went straight to the scene with my niece, who is a doctor, to try to help. 

“We were there in only a matter of minutes, but there was nothing we could do, the plane was already an inferno.”

When asked about the possible cause of the crash, the witness said: “It was flying lower than I would usually expect, but I don’t think it was doing anything acrobatic.

“I couldn’t hear any signs of engine failure either, it was hard to explain really, but it was very traumatic to witness.”

The investigation into the crash by the Air Accident Investigation Branch is ongoing.


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