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Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Runway fire grounds planes at airshow
The moment of impact
Flames erupt beneath the Italian G222
Planes were grounded at one of the world's largest airshows on Saturday after a military plane caught fire as it landed on the runway.

The nose wheel of an Italian G222 collapsed as it landed at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford, Gloucestershire at 1136 BST.

No-one was hurt but other aircraft have not been able to take off or land at the base since the accident.

RIAT spokesman John Howe said: "Within minutes the services were at the aircraft to deal with the small fire, which was contained very swiftly."

'Disappointing incident'

He said: "Nobody was hurt and the crew left the aircraft safely.

"But it is disappointing that the incident has disrupted the show."

Fly-pasts by planes that have taken off from other bases were entertaining the crowds as cranes removed the plane from the runway.

Aircraft from 32 nations are expected to attract 200,000 aviation enthusiasts to the show.

The world's most expensive aircraft, the bat-shaped B-2 Stealth bomber flew in to the Cotswolds from its base in Missouri.

A fly-past of British aircraft including the Hunter, the Harrier and the Nimrod, each representing a different decade of the Queen's reign, opened the show.

Johnny Johnson
617 Squadron bomb aimer Johnny Johnson
Some of the last surviving members of the legendary 617 Dambuster Squadron joined other British and American air force veterans for a special transatlantic tribute to bomber crews.

The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster, the world's only flying Blenheim, and a rare B-17 Flying Fortress were creating an airborne memorial to bomber crews who died in the two world wars and subsequent conflicts.

Traffic jams

Heavy traffic started jamming the roads on Saturday morning.

An estimated 50,000 cars are expected over the weekend.

Gloucestershire Police Chief Inspector Ian Jones said: "We are advising motorists coming to the show to allow plenty of time for their journey, ensure their vehicles are in good order for the journey and to follow the specially colour-coded routes into the area."

The base has been closed for the last two summers for major refurbishment of the runways.


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See also:

17 Jul 02 | England
28 Jul 99 | UK
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