Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Saturday, 30 August 2008 17:36 UK

Four escape air accident injuries

Emergency services dealt with a fuel leak from the helicopter

Four people have escaped injury in two separate aircraft accidents in Devon.

A 78-year-old man from Bedfordshire was in an Enstrom 280 helicopter flying from Plymouth to Bedford when it crashed at Haytor on Dartmoor.

A man and two women had to make an emergency landing in a light aircraft in mudflats near Exminster, coming to a halt about 100ft (30m) from pylons.

Devon and Cornwall police said the Air Accidents Investigation Branch would be leading inquiries into the incidents.

The helicopter pilot, who was the aircraft's only occupant, was not hurt in the crash, which happened at about 1225 BST on Saturday. But he suffered an arm injury after climbing out to check the damage.

Emergency services dealt with a fuel leak from the aircraft, which was left on its side after the crash. The Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service covered the area with foam to make it safe.

Plane crash at Exminster
The plane missed electricity pylons and livestock

Devon and Cornwall police said they thought poor weather conditions and low cloud contributed to the crash.

A South Western Ambulance Trust spokeswoman said: "The helicopter was trashed and he just walked away without a scratch on him.

"Chris Coles, the paramedic on the scene, said it was absolutely amazing that this guy walked away with no injuries."

The pilot, a businessman who has not been named, went back to the crash site to arrange recovery of the helicopter which had been due to land at Dunkeswell airfield en route.

Forced landing

The plane involved in the Exminster crash was flying from Exeter to Jersey when its male pilot realised there was a problem and turned around.

The aircraft was forced to land on mudflats between power lines and pylons at about 1530 BST on Saturday. It also missed some livestock in the area.

Police were informed of the plane crash after Exeter Air Traffic Control reporting it coming down near Topsham.

The police helicopter flew to the scene and located the plane on wetlands between Exminster and Topsham on the Exminster side of the River Clyst.

Ambulance crews were up to their chests in water at some points when getting to the aircraft occupants. The plane had a full tank of fuel.

The South Western Ambulance Trust spokeswoman said: "The pilot was a bit of a hero landing in these mudflats."

She added: "It's just amazing, two miraculous escapes. It's very unusual to have two forced landings in one day. We are just pleased they weren't injured."


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