Investigation launched after Duxford fighter plane collision

TWO aircraft collided in mid air at RAF Duxford during its annual Flying Legends event yesterday (Sunday).

The pilot of one plane parachuted to safety before it crashed into trees and the other aircraft was able to fly away safely and land.

No-one was injured in the crash, which involved a P-51 Mustang and a Skyraider.

Mark Brown, a pilot, from Warminster, was at the air show and witnessed the crash.

He said: “Three aircrafts form a triangle and then they peel off to the left one after the other. As they did that the leader and the one that was following clipped each other.

“The Skyraider lost a large chunk of its wing tip which fell to the ground.

“It went into a bit of a dive then sorted itself out. The other aircraft dived away from the airfield.

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“They were only about 100 feet at this point.

“Then we saw someone jump out and a parachute open. It looked all right, so I assumed someone got out OK. There was no explosion or smoke.”

Henry Simpson, who was at the event and also witnessed the crash, said: “I saw two aircraft collide and large chunks of metal falling from the aircraft.

“One of them then entered a dive before crashing into the ground behind some trees, the pilot did parachute to safety and the other plane landed safely.”

Jason Warden, from Leicestershire, said the Douglas Skyraider, which appeared not to see the Mustang and “turned in too tightly, hitting the Mustang”.

“A chunk of wing fell from the Skyraider which was quickly brought back under control.”

He said people saw a chute open just before the aircraft hit the ground.

Alistair Barbour, from Surrey, took the above photograph minutes before the crash.

He said: “Two Mustangs and a Skyraider were in a three ship formation when the lead Mustang ‘Beautiful Doll’ collided with the wing of the much larger Skyraider. Parts fell to the ground over the airfield from both aircraft.

“The Skyraider lost some control but recovered after losing height, however, the pilot of ‘Beautiful Doll’ could only do his best to ditch his aircraft safely in a field adjacent to Duxford while bailing out a couple of seconds before impact.”

A spokesman for the Imperial War Museum Duxford confirmed both pilots were OK and had been treated by paramedics at the scene.

“The cause of the incident will now be investigated by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and the museum is therefore not able to comment on the likely cause,” he said.

The AAIB said it will investigate and a team will be sent to the site.

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