Page last updated at 01:17 GMT, Monday, 18 August 2008 02:17 UK

Air crash bodies to be recovered

Police car and fire engine near the scene
Emergency services had difficulty reaching the crash scene

The bodies of five people who died when two light aircraft collided in Warwickshire are due to be recovered from the wreckage.

A solo-piloted microlight and a Cessna 407 plane carrying four people collided above Coombe Abbey in Brinklow, about two miles from Coventry Airport.

A joint investigation involving police, the fire service and the Air Accident Investigation Branch has begun.

A police spokesman said the bodies were expected to be removed later.

Eyewitness Malcolm Collins, from Daventry, Northamptonshire, was at Coombe Abbey with his wife and two children when the planes collided at about 1130 BST on Sunday.

He said: "We noticed the twin-engined aircraft coming over the top of us.

Det Supt Adrian McGee appeals for witnesses to the incident

"It was about 300 metres away from us, flying away from us as we watched it, and it struck another aircraft that had been coming across.

"It (the microlight) completely disintegrated in a big bang. Small pieces started falling down to the ground."

The wreckage of the microlight fell into a field between Brinklow and Coventry.

Mr Collins said the pilot of Cessna battled to control the plane, and added: "When it first happened it looked like the plane would go straight down, but the pilot recovered it and seemed to be in control of it.

"Then it tipped and came down suddenly."

The Cessna, owned by Reconnaissance Ventures Ltd (RVL) and used to carried out survey work for government agencies and private firms, crashed a mile away in Brandon Wood.

'Retrieve bodies'

Emergency services had difficulty finding the crash scene in dense woodland and needed guidance from the air.

Commander Mick Leach, from Warwickshire Fire and Rescue, said: "A search took place and we did locate two scenes of wreckage, one towards Coventry and one in Brandon Wood, approximately one mile apart.

Cessna 402
The Cessna 402 was preparing to land at Coventry prior to the crash

"As far as I am aware the single engine aircraft disintegrated pretty much in mid-air. Debris is spread over a wide area.

"Our priority is that we can retrieve the bodies as quickly as possible and that relatives can be notified and can have time and privacy to mourn their loss."

Det Supt Adrian McGee, from Warwickshire Police, said: "How they collided and how they came to the collision we still do not know.

"There are two scenes and they are difficult to get to. We are appealing for anyone who witnessed the crash to get in touch."

Colin Dennis, the managing director of RVL, said the Cessna was on a "perfectly normal" approach to Coventry Airport at the time of the collision.

He added the names of the victims were known but would not be released until all their relatives had been informed.


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