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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 December 2007, 17:27 GMT
Two killed in aircraft collision
Crashed aircraft
One plane crashed near a farm in Admaston

Two people have died after a pair of light aircraft collided in mid-air over the Midlands.

One of the planes crashed into a field near Blithfield Reservoir in Staffordshire, and ambulance crews confirmed two people in the plane died.

The other aircraft managed to land at East Midlands Airport in Leicestershire where the three people on board scrambled to safety.

A full investigation of the crash scene is due to begin at first light.

Staffordshire Police said they were called to the field off Lea Lane in Admaston where the plane came down, around 25 miles away from East Midlands Airport.

'Bodies seen'

A farmer who spotted the wreckage said the plane had caught fire and he alerted the emergency services.

Michael Sargeant, the 64-year-old owner of Rectory Farm, said: "I saw smoke down my field. I went down in a Land Rover, I pulled right up to it. The plane was burning but almost burned out.

It was very unnerving watching it come in
Richard Chamberlain
"I could see bodies there but I could see there was nothing I could do. I came straight back and rang 999."

In a statement the West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "The service despatched a rapid response vehicle, an ambulance officer, a doctor, an ambulance and a team of community first responders to the scene immediately.

"On arrival, two people were confirmed deceased at the scene by ambulance service staff.

"The identities of the two people have not been revealed."

Tim Atkinson, from the Air Accident Investigation Branch, said a "detailed technical examination" of the crash scene would begin on Monday morning.

He added: "The weather conditions were good."

He also confirmed the planes were on "private leisure flights" and neither was being directed by air traffic control.

Aircraft enthusiast Richard Chamberlain was watching the skies from his position parallel to the runway at East Midlands Airport when he saw the other plane land.

He was listening on a scanner when he heard the mayday call go out from the pilot.

He told the BBC News website: "The pilot reported he had hit something. He didn't know what it was but said there was burning debris beneath him and he said he had lost part of his undercarriage. He requested emergency landing facilities.

"I saw the plane come into land, I was literally about 100 yards away and had a clear view.

"It was very unnerving watching it come in. It looked to have lost two or three wheels. You could see the pilot was shocked but he stayed calm and it was a text-book landing.

"It landed on its left-hand side, cocked over onto its wing, but there was no fire.

"I've never seen anything like this before - you hope everything is going to go OK and luckily there was no fire.

"The emergency services were already in place and the plane touched down about mid-point on the runway."

Flights diverted

Chip shop manager Mr Chamberlain, from Stapleford, Nottinghamshire, said he did not see the collision itself, which happened 14 miles away, but said from what the pilot said it happened at about 1,800 feet up.

A spokeswoman for East Midlands Airport said: "The incident involved a privately-owned light aircraft which performed an emergency landing at East Midlands Airport.

"The airport was following its full emergency procedures and emergency personnel were on site."

The aircraft was not immediately thought to have been badly damaged in the landing and the three people on board were being checked over by medics, added the spokeswoman.

The runway was closed after the emergency landing.

Nine flights were diverted to Birmingham International Airport and two were cancelled while the runway was closed. It re-opened shortly after 1500 GMT.

Eyewitness describes the scene of the crash

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