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Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 15:25 GMT
Living under Heathrow's shadow
By Sarah Bell
BBC News, Hatton Cross

Cains Lane
Residents on Cains Lane are used to the roar of planes

A plane may have crash-landed a few hundred metres from their doorsteps the previous day, but residents of Cains Lane were not fazed by what had unfolded.

On a damp Friday morning, a more pressing concern for some was whether the assembled media from around the world had taken their parking spaces.

From the end of the road of 1960s semi-detached houses the stricken plane could just be seen, across the busy A30 where it had narrowly missed passing traffic.

John Nobbs, 72, has lived with planes roaring over his home since 1963. He knew something serious had happened by the sound the aircraft made when landing.

"I was down in the shed when I heard a thump and felt the vibration. I thought 'that felt like a bomb'," he said.

"I looked out and couldn't see any smoke or anything, then I saw the next aircraft overshoot. Then I heard sirens going."

Mr Nobbs looked out of his bedroom window and saw the tail of the plane, surrounded by blue lights.

John Nobbs
Both of Mr Nobbs' sons work in the aviation industry

But he was philosophical about what had happened.

"It was an accident, these things happen day in, day out. There's no point worrying about it. There has been a few of these incidents over the years."

Neville Kendall, 37, saw the plane coming into land "very, very low" as he left his house.

"Then I heard a sound like a lorry dumping its load. I didn't think anything of it, but then the next plane aborted, so I knew something had happened," he said.

"Then it hit me, 'gosh, that was close'. I was quite shocked really. It could have been a whole lot worse."

Daren Correia, 36, who has lived on the road for five years, was more concerned.

"They should move us all from here for a start," he said.

"If the pilot had not been as skilled as he was and it had landed a few seconds the other way, nothing would have been in the way but our homes."

With a steady stream of onlookers and reporters trudging past their homes eager for a view of the crash scene, life is unlikely to return to normal any time soon.

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